FOREX-Dollar gains after week of losses, Bitcoin hovers near record high

    * Dollar gains after week of losses; Bitcoin hovers near record high

 (Adds details on Wall Street indices and Bitcoin, updates prices,  comments)
    By Suzanne Barlyn
    Dec 18 (Reuters) - The dollar rose on Friday from two-and-a-half-year lows as some investors squared
positions heading into year-end, while Bitcoin edged lower but still hovered near its all-time high.
    The dollar index was last up 0.17% to 89.9840, after dropping to 89.723 on Thursday.
    Brexit will remain in focus on Friday for currency investors, although it is unclear with the ongoing
trade deal negotiations between Britain and the European Union will be much of a driver, said Vassili
Serebriakov, currency strategist at UBS in New York.
    The EU said on Friday there were just hours left to strike a Brexit trade deal as the two sides race
to prevent a turbulent finale to the Brexit crisis at the end of the month.
    "We're moving toward the year-end so you would expect levels to decrease going into the last couple of
weeks of the year," Serebriakov said.
    The pound, last down 0.66% to $1.3494, has reversed some of its gains against the dollar and euro as
the Brexit talks continued.
    Wall Street's main indexes opened at record highs as a coronavirus stimulus package remained in focus
ahead of a weekend deadline for a deal, with retail stocks rising on the possibility of strong holiday
sales. However, by mid-morning, major indices turned lower.
    But 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.
    Investors remain focused on Bitcoin, which last traded around $22,406, down 1.67% 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.
    The Bank of Japan announced on Friday an extension of its COVID-19 loan programs by six months and a
surprise review of its policy to consider "further effective and substantive monetary easing," to conclude
by March 2021.
    The dollar rebounded as much as half a percent against the yen to 103.595 yen. It was last up 0.25% at
    Serebriakov, who remains focused on some of the overnight events, said the Bank of Japan's policy
decision was "a mild surprise."
    Currency bid prices at 10:13AM (1513 GMT)
 Description      RIC         Last           U.S. Close  Pct Change     YTD Pct     High Bid    Low Bid
                                              Previous                   Change                 
 Dollar index                 89.9840        89.8400     +0.17%         +0.00%      +90.1120    +89.8220
 Euro/Dollar                  $1.2247        $1.2270     -0.19%         +9.23%      +$1.2274    +$1.2228
 Dollar/Yen                   103.3350       103.0700    +0.25%         -4.87%      +103.5900   +103.1300
 Euro/Yen                     126.54         126.46      +0.06%         +3.76%      +127.0100   +126.4300
 Dollar/Swiss                 0.8857         0.8840      +0.18%         -8.48%      +0.8864     +0.8827
 Sterling/Dollar              $1.3494        $1.3586     -0.66%         +1.76%      +$1.3590    +$1.3481
 Dollar/Canadian              1.2752         1.2720      +0.28%         -1.82%      +1.2774     +1.2717
 Aussie/Dollar                $0.7608        $0.7627     -0.26%         +8.42%      +$0.7628    +$0.7583
 Euro/Swiss                   1.0844         1.0848      -0.04%         -0.07%      +1.0859     +1.0818
 Euro/Sterling                0.9074         0.9030      +0.49%         +7.33%      +0.9083     +0.9028
 NZ                           $0.7128        $0.7155     -0.38%         +5.93%      +$0.7151    +$0.7111
 Dollar/Norway                8.5925         8.5630      +0.48%         -1.91%      +8.6130     +8.5705
 Euro/Norway                  10.5230        10.4920     +0.30%         +6.96%      +10.5550    +10.5032
 Dollar/Sweden                8.2745         8.2664      -0.17%         -11.48%     +8.3059     +8.2465
 Euro/Sweden                  10.1350        10.1519     -0.17%         -3.16%      +10.1670    +10.1103

 (Reporting by Suzanne Barlyn)

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