LONDON: The dollar held near its highest since November against major currencies on Friday, helped by optimism over the state of the US economy and the rollout of coronavirus vaccines, while the euro recovered some of its heavy losses from a day before.
Against a basket of six major currencies, the dollar stood at 92.846, not far off a four-month high hit a day earlier and on course for a weekly gain of 0.9%.
In further signs of strength, the dollar rose 0.6% to 109.82 against the Japanese yen, its highest since June, Against the Swiss franc, it rose to its highest since July, holding onto a 0.5% gain from the previous session.
US jobless claims fell to a one-year low last week and President Joe Biden said he will double his vaccination plan after reaching his previous goal of 100 million shots 42 days ahead of schedule, both of which support optimism in the dollar.
Data on US personal consumption due later on Friday was also on traders’ radars.
“The extent of the strength (of the dollar) is more because of Biden’s stimulus package,” said Derek Halpenny, head of research for global markets at MUFG.
A resurgence of COVID-19 cases in major economies such as the euro zone has also favoured, he added.
The dollar’s gains in the past few weeks have been so rapid that some analysts are warning against chasing the dollar higher from current levels.
“We believe recent moves in FX markets are corrective and not part of a new 2021 trend,” ING analysts wrote in a note.
The euro managed to claw back ground from Thursday’s four-month low, though the common currency is still bruised by doubts over the slow pace of vaccinations and rising infections.
Against the euro, the dollar slipped 0.1% to $1.1763 but remained near its strongest level since November.
In a fillip for the common currency, business morale in the eurozone’s biggest economy Germany hit its highest level in almost two years in March as rising demand for manufactured goods kept factories humming through rising coronavirus infections and lockdown restrictions.
The euro has been under pressure as worries about the European Union’s slow vaccination rollout and bickering with former member Britain over vaccine exports become a dominant theme, traders said, adding that rising cases were a concern.
Underscoring those fears, the head of the Robert Koch Institute in Germany said a third wave of infections could turn into the worst so far with 100,000 new daily cases not out of the question.
A notable exception to the dollar’s gains was the British pound. Sterling gained as much as 0.4% to $1.37910, matching its gain on Thursday, with traders generally upbeat about Britain’s vaccine rollout and economic outlook.
Sterling was up 0.1% against the euro, at 85.58 pence per euro, on track for a 0.4% gain against the euro for the week.
Elsewhere, bitcoin gained as much as 4%, helping recover some of its pullback from a record high of almost $62,000 touched earlier this month. It was last up 2.6% at $52,687, down 15% from its record.