Dollar up after a bad week, bitcoin is near the record

The US dollar rose Friday from two-and-a-half-year lows as some investors squared off positions heading into the end of the year, while bitcoin edged lower, but still hovering at its highest ever.

The last US dollar index was up 0.17 percent to 89.9840, after falling to 89.723 on Thursday.

While remaining focused, it was unclear whether the ongoing UK-EU trade deal negotiations would be a major impetus, said Vassili Serebriakov, a currency strategist at UBS in New York.

“We are moving towards the end of the year so you would expect levels to fall in the last two weeks of the year,” said Serebriakov.

The last pound was down 0.38 percent at US $ 1.3531.

Wall Street’s major indices opened at record highs as the COVID-19 stimulus package continued to focus ahead of a weekend deal deadline, with retail stocks rising at the prospect of strong holiday sales. However, by mid-morning, major indices were turning lower.

However, as the US Congress on Friday looks increasingly unlikely to meet a deadline to agree on US $ 900 billion in fresh COVID-19 aid, a third stopgap spending bill was passed to keep the government shut down for half night.

Investors continue to focus on bitcoin, which last traded at around US $ 22,406, down 1.67 percent after rockets to their highest level on Thursday.

This year’s rally has also been driven by growing expectations that it will become a mainstream payment method, with PayPal opening up its network to cryptocurrencies.

In Taipei, the New Taiwan dollar declined against the bluefin, losing NT $ 0.008 to close at a minimum per day of NT $ 28.489 and marking the fifth consecutive session of decline. The NT dollar fell 0.17 percent from a week earlier.

The Bank of Japan on Friday announced an extension of its COVID-19 loan programs by six months and an unexpected review of its policy to consider “further effective and substantial financial relaxation,” to conclude by March.

The US dollar rebounded by as much as half a percent against the yen to ¥ 103.595. It was last up 0.21 percent at ¥ 103.32.

Serebriakov, who continues to focus on some of the overnight events, said the Bank of Japan’s policy decision was “surprisingly light.”

Additional reports from CNA, with staff writer

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