Dollar slides for third day on U.S. data, stimulus expectations

* U.S. stimulus-driven hopes weigh on dollar
* ECB keeps rates steady; Lagarde warns of more economic downside
* Bitcoin slumps as investors fear tighter regulation under Biden
* Sterling at fresh 2-1/2-year high vs dollar
* Graphic: World FX rates

(Adds comment, updates prices)
By Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss
NEW YORK, Jan 21 (Reuters) - The dollar fell for a third straight session on Thursday, with investors
seeking out higher-yielding currencies, as a slew of better-than-expected U.S. data and continued optimism
about a massive stimulus package spurred hopes of a recovery in the world's largest economy.
The euro, on the other hand, gained versus an overall weak dollar, even as European Central Bank
President Christine Lagarde warned about a renewed surge in COVID-19 infections and the prospect of
prolonged restrictions that could challenge the region's economic outlook.
The ECB, which kept interest rates steady on Thursday, also pledged to provide more support for the
economy if needed.
The FX market showed little reaction to Lagarde's comments, as market participants continued to focus
on what seemed like an improving global economic outlook and a nearly $2 trillion U.S stimulus package
proposed by new Democratic President Joe Biden's administration.
On Thursday, U.S. data showed an economy slowly getting some traction, with slightly
better-than-expected initial jobless claims, upbeat housing starts data, and a higher factory index for
the mid-Atlantic region.
"Across asset markets, optimism about growth is high and I think it's appropriate," said Anujeet
Sareen, global fixed income portfolio manager at Brandywine Global Investment Management in Philadelphia.
"We see the dollar going lower because global growth will get better, the trade balance is
deteriorating, and the Federal Reserve is going to keep its easy monetary policy," he added.
The dollar typically loses out against its major peers in times of global expansions, when investors
are inclined to take on more risk.
In late afternoon trading, the dollar index fell 0.3% to 90.103, after touching a nearly
one-month high of 90.956 on Monday.
The euro gained 0.5% against the dollar to $1.2163, rising 0.5% as well versus the yen to
125.92 yen.
That said, TD Securities global head of FX strategy Mark McCormick noted that there is a brewing shift
for a lower euro against the dollar because of delays in the vaccinations in the euro zone compared with
that of the United States.
"These delays will result in a slower timeline to herd immunity. The downside for markets is that it's
also likely to have an immediate impact on the mobility and growth trends," McCormick wrote in a research
The greenback also dropped versus currencies tied to commodity prices such as the Australian,
Canadian and New Zealand dollars.
Sterling likewise set a fresh 2-1/2-year high against the dollar and a new eight-month peak
against the euro on hopes Britain's brisk pace of COVID-19 vaccinations would lead to a
relatively quicker rebound in economic growth.
Many analysts overall expect the dollar to continue its downtrend, which saw it lose nearly 7% in
In the cryptocurrency market, bitcoin slumped 9.1% to $32,247, retreating further from
record highs, with traders citing fears of tighter U.S. regulation.

Currency bid prices at 3:41PM (2041 GMT)
Description RIC Last U.S. Close Pct Change YTD Pct High Bid Low Bid
Previous Change
Dollar index 90.0890 90.4100 -0.34% +0.00% +90.4540 +90.0430
Euro/Dollar $1.2165 $1.2106 +0.49% -0.43% +$1.2174 +$1.2106
Dollar/Yen 103.5200 103.5500 -0.03% +0.22% +103.6600 +103.3500
Euro/Yen 125.92 125.33 +0.47% -0.79% +125.9600 +125.3300
Dollar/Swiss 0.8853 0.8898 -0.48% +0.09% +0.8899 +0.8849
Sterling/Dollar $1.3727 $1.3660 +0.48% +0.46% +$1.3745 +$1.3656
Dollar/Canadian 1.2628 1.2635 -0.04% -0.82% +1.2646 +1.2591
Aussie/Dollar $0.7760 $0.7747 +0.19% +0.90% +$0.7782 +$0.7742
Euro/Swiss 1.0770 1.0768 +0.02% -0.34% +1.0786 +1.0757
Euro/Sterling 0.8860 0.8864 -0.05% -0.87% +0.8872 +0.8831
NZ $0.7199 $0.7170 +0.43% +0.28% +$0.7222 +$0.7173
Dollar/Norway 8.4035 8.4900 -0.48% -1.60% +8.4865 +8.4010
Euro/Norway 10.2246 10.2810 -0.55% -2.32% +10.2920 +10.2138
Dollar/Sweden 8.2741 8.3383 -0.39% +0.95% +8.3530 +8.2651
Euro/Sweden 10.0666 10.1065 -0.39% -0.10% +10.1115 +10.0570

(Reporting by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss; Editing by Jonathan Oatis, Hugh Lawson and Nick Zieminski)

First Published: 2021-01-21 03:47:00
Updated 2021-01-21 22:55:38

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