FOREX-Dollar treads water after fresh virus vaccine news
The dollar treaded water early Monday after Moderna Inc became the second U.S. company in a week to report positive results from its COVID-19 vaccine trial.
Optimism about the vaccine lifted stocks but mostly bypassed the forex markets, where currency trading held the index of the U.S. dollar against a basket of currencies at 92.66, just below its late Friday level at 92.74.
Moderna said its experimental vaccine was 94.5% effective in preventing COVID-19 based on interim data from a late-stage trial. That followed a similar vaccine-related update from Pfizer Inc a week earlier.
The risk-on mood lifted U.S. stock indexes at the open and nudged up the yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note.
The euro was steady as investors began the week in a relatively upbeat mood after strong economic data from Asia.
Despite fears of a resurgence of global cases of COVID-19, investors remain hopeful a working vaccine could rescue the global economy, helping to fuel a rally in stock markets and a rebound in riskier currencies.
The euro hit a one-week high of $1.1869 and was last up 0.03% at $1.1836.
Commerzbank analysts said investor confidence that the euro region was better prepared to launch more fiscal stimulus than a divided U.S. Congress was helping.
“In particular as the positive news about vaccine developers are providing a glimmer of hope at the end of the corona tunnel the FX market is likely to prefer an active fiscal reaction over inactivity,” said Commerzbank strategist Ulrich Leuchtmann.
“If the end of the pandemic is foreseeable the tactic of pushing the European economies over lockdown with the help of fiscal policies makes sense again to FX traders.”
In a sign of the positive mood, currencies sensitive to global sentiment such as the Norwegian crown and the Australian dollar notched up solid gains.
Adding to investor optimism was data on Monday showing signs of economic recovery in China and Japan, the world’s second and third largest economies, as well as 15 Asia-Pacific economies on Sunday signing the China-backed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership deal.
The dollar against the Chinese yuan was last off 0.2% in offshore markets at 6.5780, after the Chinesee currency hit a one-week high of 6.5661 yuan per dollar.
Trade talks between Britain and the European Union resumed, although initial confidence that the two sides could make progress dissipated and the gains in the pound were short-lived.
Sterling rallied to as high as $1.3242 before settling at $1.3186, down slightly.
Ireland’s foreign minister said Britain and the EU had a week to 10 days to find a way to unlock the talks.
ING analysts said even with an extension to the talks the time for ratification was “dangerously shrinking”, with Britain’s Brexit transition period concluding on Dec. 31.