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Dollar hits one-week high

The dollar reached a one-week high against a basket of major rivals, boosted by expectations of a hawkish Federal Reserve meeting this week and haven demand amid ongoing uncertainty about the Omicron coronavirus variant.

The risky Australian dollar fell by 0.64 percent to a one-week low.

The Fed’s two-day meeting, which begins later Tuesday, highlights a week of policy announcements by central banks, including the European Central Bank and Bank of England on Thursday and the Bank of Japan on Friday.

The dollar index, which compares the US dollar to six other currencies, rose to 96.464 for the first time since December 7 before falling 0.04 percent to 96.404. The Federal Reserve of the United States expects to announce that it will end its bond-buying stimulus earlier than previously reported, potentially setting the stage for earlier interest rate hikes next year.

Money markets are currently pricing a rate hike by June, with another possible as early as November.

However, even if the Fed matches elevated expectations, they will be miles ahead of the ECB, looking for ways to maintain accommodation after its Pandemic Emergency Purchase Programme expires in March.

Although the dollar index’s recent advance has slowed, pullbacks into the mid-95 level are a buy. After hitting a one-week low of $1.12605 overnight, the euro fell 0.07 percent to $1.1278.

Currencies

Sterling fell 0.08 percent to $1.32035, returning to the one-year low of $1.31615 set last week.

Britain reported the first publicly confirmed death from Omicron on Monday, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said, a day after warning of a “tidal wave” of infections from the new variant.

British researchers believe two doses of the current COVID-19 vaccine do not induce enough neutralizing antibodies against Omicron.

Meanwhile, according to state media, mainland China reported its first case of Omicron infection on Monday. Another haven currency, the dollar, was little changed at 113.565 yen, consolidating near the top of the pair’s trading range this month.

The Australian dollar fell 0.39 percent to $0.71060 in late trading.

Bitcoin, the leading cryptocurrency, rose 0.49 percent to $46,957.11, breaking through Monday’s low of $45,750, a level not seen since December 4, when the digital token fell below $42,000 for the first time since September.

 

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