Dollar dips to more than one-week low; FX risk sentiment upbeat overall

U.S. dollar bank notes are arranged for a photograph on September 7, 2017 in Hong Kong.

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The dollar slipped to a more than one-week low on Friday, while currencies that benefit from higher risk appetite rose as investors focused on the possible resumption of talks for additional coronavirus stimulus.

Republican and Democratic senators agreed on Thursday to revive those discussions, pushing the dollar lower after trading higher all day.

Overall, the greenback was on track to end the week on a loss. The week started off on a negative note for the dollar with positive news on a vaccine for COVID-19, but the market has since moved back and forth between focusing on coronavirus cases and the virus drug.

“You really cannot take things by the day anymore. What has been happening since Monday is that there has been a tremendous buzz of positivity because of anything related to a vaccine that can possibly be distributed,” said Juan Perez, senior currency analyst at Tempus Inc in Washington. “That feeling is very strong one day and weak the next and that’s how the market has been behaving. These swings will continue because there is no definite direction,” he added.

Pfizer Inc said it had applied for emergency use authorization in the United States for its COVID-19 vaccine.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, meanwhile, defended his decision to end several of the Federal Reserve’s key pandemic lending programs on Dec. 31, saying Congress should use the money to help small U.S. companies with grants instead.

The dollar briefly rose overnight after the Mnuchin news late Thursday.

In mid-morning trading, the dollar was down 0.1% at 92.281 in a quiet day for currency markets.
The dollar has fallen for eight out of the last 10 sessions, as currency traders’ appetite for risk increased.

The euro was flat against the dollar at $1.1870, on track for a small weekly gain.

European Union leaders clashed on Thursday over Hungary and Poland vetoing the bloc’s 1.8 trillion-euro ($2.14 trillion) recovery plan but decided to allow more time for an agreement. The euro was unaffected.

The Australian dollar – seen as a liquid proxy for risk appetite – was on track for its best monthly gain versus the U.S. dollar since April. It last traded up 0.4% at US$0.7313. The New Zealand dollar hit new two-year highs of US$0.6949, helped by positive risk appetite.

It was last up 0.3% at US$0.6941 The U.S. dollar was flat versus the Japanese yen at 103.72.

U.S. President Donald Trump will meet with Republican leaders from Michigan at the White house on Friday, as his campaign pursues an increasingly desperate bid to overturn the Nov. 3 election result.

Elsewhere, Bitcoin rose to a three-year high of $18,600 on Friday, up 4.5% on the day and close to its all-time high of just under $20,000.

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