By Suzanne Barlyn
(Reuters) -The dollar rose on Friday from 2-1/2-year lows as doubts about an agreement on U.S. COVID-19 aid and Brexit trade negotiations deflated investor confidence.
The U.S. Congress looked increasingly unlikely on Friday to meet a deadline to agree on $900 billion in fresh COVID-19 aid and instead may pass a third stopgap spending bill to keep the government from shutting down at midnight.
The European Union, also on Friday, said there were just hours left to strike a Brexit trade deal while Britain called on the bloc to see sense as the two sides race to prevent a turbulent finale to the Brexit crisis at the end of the month.
Brexit “is a major risk item that is not being resolved,” said Juan Perez, senior foreign exchange trader and strategist at Tempus Inc. “That ruins the whole global stability narrative and that helps the dollar,” Perez said.
The lack of a U.S. stimulus resolution and mounting global COVID-19 deaths are also fueling the flight to safe-haven assets, Perez said.
The dollar index gained 0.21% to 90.0190, after dropping to 89.822 on Thursday.
Wall Street retreated from record highs on Friday as a coronavirus stimulus deal remained in focus ahead of a weekend deadline, while Tesla shares hit a lifetime high in anticipation of their addition to the S&P 500 next week.
As U.S. stimulus talks dragged on, Democratic President-elect Joe Biden’s incoming chief economic adviser said on Friday a coronavirus relief plan under negotiation in Congress should not include a provision that would restrict the ability of the Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve to fight economic crises.
“As we navigate through an unprecedented economic crisis, it is in the interests of the American people to maintain the Fed’s ability to respond quickly and forcefully,” Brian Deese, who will head the White House National Economic Council for Biden, said in a statement.
Biden’s transition team has met resistance to its requests for information from some officials in the Department of Defense, an official on Biden’s team said on Friday.
“We were concerned to learn this week about an abrupt halt in the already limited cooperation there,” Yohannes Abraham, the executive director of Biden’s transition team, told reporters in a call, adding that he expects the Department of Defense to reverse the decision.
The pound, down 0.60% to $1.3505, pulled back from a 2-1/2-year high against the dollar and a 2-1/2-week high against the euro as the Brexit talks continued.
The euro was down 0.25% at $1.2240 against the dollar and up 0.33% against the pound at 0.9060.
Investors remain focused on Bitcoin, which last traded around $22,732.78, down 0.24% after rocketing to its highest-ever level on Thursday.
The 2020 rally has also been driven by increasing expectations it will become a mainstream payment method, with PayPal opening its network to cryptocurrencies.
Currency bid prices at 3:14PM (2014 GMT)
Description RIC Last U.S. Close Pct Change YTD Pct High Bid Low Bid
Dollar index 90.0190 89.8400 +0.21% +0.00% +90.1350 +89.8220
Euro/Dollar $1.2240 $1.2270 -0.25% +9.17% +$1.2274 +$1.2226
Dollar/Yen 103.3050 103.0700 +0.24% -4.88% +103.5900 +103.1300
Euro/Yen 126.44 126.46 -0.02% +3.68% +127.0100 +126.3900
Dollar/Swiss 0.8840 0.8840 -0.02% -8.66% +0.8868 +0.8827
Sterling/Dollar $1.3505 $1.3586 -0.60% +1.82% +$1.3590 +$1.3472
Dollar/Canadian 1.2786 1.2720 +0.53% -1.57% +1.2798 +1.2717
Aussie/Dollar $0.7611 $0.7627 -0.21% +8.47% +$0.7628 +$0.7583
Euro/Swiss 1.0819 1.0848 -0.27% -0.29% +1.0859 +1.0818
Euro/Sterling 0.9060 0.9030 +0.33% +7.17% +0.9084 +0.9028
NZ $0.7129 $0.7155 -0.38% +5.93% +$0.7151 +$0.7111
Dollar/Norway 8.5945 8.5630 +0.36% -2.03% +8.6220 +8.5705
Euro/Norway 10.5225 10.4920 +0.29% +6.96% +10.5550 +10.5032
Dollar/Sweden 8.2756 8.2664 -0.22% -11.47% +8.3059 +8.2465
Euro/Sweden 10.1298 10.1519 -0.22% -3.24% +10.1670 +10.1103
(Reporting by Suzanne Barlyn; editing by Jonathan Oatis)