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FOREX-Dollar strengthens as vaccine, stimulus hopes dim

Chuck Mikolajczak
·3 mins read

* Euro, sterling fall against dollar * U.S. dollar index up on stimulus doubts, vaccine uncertainty * Graphic: World FX rates in 2020 https://tmsnrt.rs/2RBWI5E (Adds Eli Lilly drug trial details, updates prices) By Chuck Mikolajczak NEW YORK, Oct 13 (Reuters) - The U.S. dollar strengthened on Tuesday as investors turned cautious after a Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 study was paused and as hopes dimmed that a fiscal stimulus package could be reached before the presidential election. Major equity averages were lower, partly due to a decline in J&J shares after the company paused its study due to an unexplained illness in a participant, dampening optimism about a vaccine. Eli Lilly also said its clinical trial for a COVID-19 antibody treatment was paused. U.S. consumer prices rose 0.2% in September, matching expectations, for a fourth straight monthly climb, though the pace has slowed amid considerable slack in the economy as it slowly recovers from a nadir caused by coronavirus shutdowns. The dollar index rose 0.528% against a basket of other currencies, putting it on track for its biggest daily percentage gain in three weeks. The U.S. currency's safe-haven appeal has been curbed by growing expectations that a win by former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden on Nov. 3 would bring large stimulus for the pandemic-hit economy, bolstering the stock market and investor risk appetite. "It’s becoming increasingly evident to people that there is no stimulus coming before the election," said Erik Nelson, a currency strategist at Wells Fargo in New York. "I wouldn’t say markets were fully pricing stimulus or fully pricing a vaccine by the end of the year but they were probably tilted towards the more positive side of those expectations." The greenback has held within a range of about 2% over the past three weeks as talks on a fiscal deal have progressed in fits and starts. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the Republican-led U.S. Senate would vote on a scaled-down coronavirus economic relief bill of the type Democrats have rejected as they hold out for trillions in aid. The euro was down 0.59% to $1.1745 while the Japanese yen weakened 0.17% versus the greenback. Sterling was last trading at $1.2938, down 0.96%, after climbing above the $1.30 mark for the first time in a month on Friday as Britain's unemployment rate rose by more than expected to 4.5% in the three months to August. In addition, as a deadline draws closer, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told his top cabinet ministers on Tuesday he wanted a free trade deal with the European Union on the right terms but ending the year without one held "no fear." ======================================================== Currency bid prices at 2:54PM (1854 GMT) Description RIC Last U.S. Close Pct Change YTD Pct High Bid Low Bid Previous Change Session Euro/Dollar $1.1745 $1.1815 -0.59% +4.76% +1.1815 +1.1730 Dollar/Yen 105.4850 105.3550 +0.15% -2.86% +105.6200 +105.2900 Euro/Yen 123.88 124.40 -0.42% +1.58% +124.4700 +123.8100 Dollar/Swiss 0.9146 0.9092 +0.61% -5.47% +0.9155 +0.9091 Sterling/Dollar 1.2937 1.3066 -0.99% -2.47% +1.3067 +1.2922 Dollar/Canadian 1.3140 1.3109 +0.24% +1.15% +1.3146 +1.3100 Aussie/Dollar 0.7153 0.7211 -0.81% +1.94% +0.7210 +0.7151 Euro/Swiss 1.0741 1.0738 +0.03% -1.02% +1.0745 +1.0726 Euro/Sterling 0.9077 0.9040 +0.41% +7.37% +0.9081 +0.9020 NZ 0.6641 0.6647 -0.09% -1.31% +0.6670 +0.6630 Dollar/Dollar Dollar/Norway 9.2420 9.1545 +1.03% +5.44% +9.2465 +9.1390 Euro/Norway 10.8564 10.7914 +0.60% +10.35% +10.8598 +10.7769 Dollar/Sweden 8.8268 8.7884 -0.20% -5.57% +8.8294 +8.7569 Euro/Sweden 10.3672 10.3884 -0.20% -0.97% +10.4100 +10.3307 (Reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)