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Dollar hovers near two-year lows as U.S. stimulus, Fed meeting embolden investors - Metro US

Dollar hovers near two-year lows as U.S. stimulus, Fed meeting embolden investors

FILE PHOTO: George Washington is seen with printed medical masks on the one Dollar near Euro banknotes in this illustration

By Suzanne Barlyn

(Reuters) -The dollar hovered close to two-year lows on Tuesday as progress toward a massive U.S. government spending bill and COVID-19 relief measures boosted spirits while investors hoped for ongoing cues of easy monetary policy from the Federal Reserve’s final meeting of the year.

The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of currencies, was last at 90.458 , after sinking as low as 90.419 on Monday, a level unseen since April 2018.

Hopes that U.S. lawmakers can agree on $1.4 trillion in spending and more clarity about COVID-19 vaccine distribution have whetted investors’ risk appetite, driving them away from safe-haven currencies.

The upbeat investor sentiment drove Wall Street’s main indexes higher on Tuesday. Apple Inc was the top boost to all three U.S. benchmarks, rising 3.5% to a more than three-month high after a report said it plans to increase iPhone production by 30% in the first half of 2021.

Top U.S. congressional leaders are meeting at 4 p.m. (2100 GMT) on Tuesday as they seek to finalize a massive government funding bill and end a standoff on coronavirus relief, with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin joining by telephone, the office of House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, said.

Despite alarming COVID-19 infection and death rates across Europe and the United States, progress on vaccine rollout continued. Moderna Inc’s COVID-19 vaccine appeared set for regulatory authorization this week.

“Today we’ve been just kind of sitting back and waiting, on the dollar side, for news from Capitol Hill,” said John Doyle, vice president of dealing and trading at Tempus Inc in Washington. “That’s how the day started and I don’t see any huge moves that would have changed the outlook for that yet.”

The Fed, which begins a two-day meeting on Tuesday, is expected to keep its key overnight interest rate pinned near zero and to signal it will stay there for years to come. Such moves would further boost investors’ confidence for risk-taking, analysts said.

Many analysts also expect new guidance on how long the Fed will keep up its massive bond-buying program.

Sterling hit a session high on Tuesday after a report that a Brexit trade deal may be close. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, also on Tuesday, repeated to his top ministers that the most likely outcome of post-Brexit trade talks with the European Union was no deal.

The pound was last at $1.3444 , up 0.89%.

Broad-based selling of the U.S. dollar drove the euro to hover near a 2-1/2-year peak on Tuesday. The single currency has rocketed 4% since early November to its highest level since April 2018.

The euro was last at $1.2155, up 0.10%..

The Australian dollar was up 0.41% at $0.7562 after touching the highest since June 2018 at $0.7578 on Monday.

Bitcoin was last at $19,505.27, up 1.17%.

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Currency bid prices at 3:28PM (2028 GMT)

Description RIC Last U.S. Close Pct Change YTD Pct High Bid Low Bid

Previous Change

Session

Dollar index 90.4580 90.6960 -0.25% +0.00% +90.8240 +90.4120

Euro/Dollar $1.2155 $1.2143 +0.10% +8.42% +1.2169 +1.2121

Dollar/Yen 103.6500 104.0450 -0.32% -4.52% +104.1450 +103.7100

Euro/Yen 125.98 126.33 -0.28% +3.30% +126.5800 +125.9600

Dollar/Swiss 0.8855 0.8869 -0.16% -8.49% +0.8880 +0.8851

Sterling/Dollar 1.3444 1.3327 +0.89% +1.37% +1.3451 +1.3280

Dollar/Canadian 1.2689 1.2767 -0.60% -2.32% +1.2771 +1.2689

Aussie/Dollar 0.7562 0.7532 +0.41% +7.79% +0.7571 +0.7508

Euro/Swiss 1.0763 1.0769 -0.06% -0.82% +1.0785 +1.0759

Euro/Sterling 0.9041 0.9107 -0.72% +6.94% +0.9149 +0.9038

NZ 0.7096 0.7082 +0.18% +5.44% +0.7098 +0.7060

Dollar/Dollar

Dollar/Norway 8.7145 8.7320 -0.20% -0.66% +8.7530 +8.7145

Euro/Norway 10.5920 10.6310 -0.37% +7.67% +10.6375 +10.5920

Dollar/Sweden 8.3827 8.4000 -0.15% -10.32% +8.4202 +8.3654

Euro/Sweden 10.1903 10.2058 -0.15% -2.66% +10.2215 +10.1760

(Reporting by Suzanne Barlyn; Editing by Andrea Ricci and Jonathan Oatis)

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