Forex markets: Dollar, U.S. Federal Reserve

Two people are seen exchanging U.S. banknotes.

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The dollar rallied from its lowest level in 2-1/2 years on Monday, as broad risk sentiment soured again and shares on Wall Street fell, with investors disheartened by weakening U.S. economic data and the absence of any traction on another stimulus package.

Still, the greenback was on course to post its largest monthly percentage loss since July.

In contrast, bitcoin on Monday hit an all-time high of $19,864.15 and was last up 6% at $19,280 .

“We’re seeing further softening of U.S. economic data,” said Edward Moya, senior market analyst, at OANDA in New York. “And there hasn’t been any sign that we’re going to see Congress deliver a stimulus package any time soon.”

Data on Monday showed that contracts to buy U.S. previously-owned homes fell for a second straight month in October, with the Pending Home Sales Index, based on contracts signed last month, falling 1.1% to 128.9.

Other data showed activity at factories in the Midwest and Texas slowing this month, with the Chicago PMI falling to 58.2 in November from 61.1 in October, likely as a nationwide resurgence in new COVID-19 infections curbed new orders and disrupted production.

On the last day of the month, the dollar index rose 0.1% to 91.84.

“This is just a temporary boost for the dollar,” said OANDA’a Moya. “The longer-term trend is clearly going to be dollar weakness.”

Market participants remained optimistic that U.S. President-elect Joe Biden’s administration would pose few impediments to global growth.

Biden unveiled his picks for several top economic positions on Monday, including former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen as his nominee for Treasury secretary.

The euro slipped 0.1% against the dollar to $1.1953, after earlier hitting a three-month high of $1.20 . The European Central Bank signalled earlier this year it was carefully monitoring the euro-dollar exchange rate.

“We are reluctant to chase it higher amid stretched technical indicators and data showing divergence favoring the U.S., and ahead of the ECB meeting that is likely to be dovish.” said Marc Chandler, chief market strategist, at Bannockburn Global Forex.

The dollar rose 0.1% against the yen to 104.27 yen.

The dollar was flat to slightly higher against the Chinese yuan in the offshore market, at 6.5765 . Monday’s data showed China’s manufacturing grew at its fastest pace in more than three years in November, while services sector growth hit a three-year high.

The offshore yuan was on course for its longest streak of monthly gains in six years, boosted by China’s economic recovery from the coronavirus and steady capital inflows.

Brexit negotiations, meanwhile, remain the focus for the pound, which rose 0.3% versus the dollar to $1.3352, with the euro down 0.3% at 89.52 pence.

Britain and the European Union are running out of time to agree on a Brexit trade deal, but if good progress is made this week the talks could be extended, Britain’s environment secretary said.

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