FOREX-Dollar nose dive on US stimulus hopes; bitcoin on a new high

    * New Zealand dollar hits highest in more than 2 years
    * Commodity-linked currencies gain vs U.S. dollar
    * Sterling rises to three-month high
    * U.S bipartisan stimulus proposal sinks dollar
    * Graphic: World FX rates in 2020

 (Adds new comment, updates prices)
    By Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss
    NEW YORK, Dec 1 (Reuters) - The dollar fell on Tuesday to its lowest in more than 2-1/2 years, as
investor appetite for risk increased on the prospects of further fiscal stimulus from the United States as
well as expectations of a solid global recovery.
    News of a proposed COVID bill sank the dollar further, as did the resumption of talks between U.S.
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi later on Tuesday about
a stimulus package. The two have not spoken since before the Nov. 3 U.S. election.
    The proposed relief bill was $908 billion and would fund measures through March 31, including $228
billion in additional paycheck protection funds for hotels, restaurants and other small businesses.
    "Risk overall was on today anyway, and overall that has been the story in November and continuing in
December," said John Doyle, vice president of dealing and trading at Tempus, Inc. in Washington.
    "Traders are looking for any reason to bid risk up and that comes at the cost of the dollar. When you
get a report that a bipartisan stimulus deal can get done after hopes have been dashed, it's just another
reason to bid risk up and sell the dollar."
    Currencies that trade higher in times of risk appetite such as the euro, sterling, as well as the
Australian, New Zealand, and Canadian dollars all rose against the greenback. 
    The euro and the New Zealand dollar both hit 2-1/2-year highs.
    Bitcoin was also on a tear, hitting a record high just under $20,000. The virtual currency
though was last down 3.7% t $18,934.
    In midday trading, the dollar index fell 0.6% to 91.361, hitting 91.263, the lowest since late
April 2018.
    The dollar extended losses as well after mixed U.S. economic data showing a rise in construction
spending, but a decline in a manufacturing index.
    The euro hit a 2-1/2-year high vs dollar above $1.20 and was last up 0.9% at $1.2038.
    Sterling climbed to a three-month peak versus the dollar after Times Radio said Brexit trade deal
talks have entered the "tunnel" stage of negotiations. The "tunnel" is a term for an intense final stage
of secretive, make-or-break negotiations.
    The pound was last up 0.6% at $1.3402.
    Nagging worries about rising coronavirus cases have not provided the dollar with much safe-haven
support. Speculation is growing that the Federal Reserve will act to support the economy through a tough
winter before vaccinations become available.
    The Fed meets to set policy on Dec. 15 and 16. 
    Fed Chairman Jerome Powell and Treasury's Mnuchin on Tuesday also urged Congress to provide more help
for small businesses amid a surging coronavirus pandemic and concern that relief from a vaccine may not
arrive in time to keep them from failing. nL1N2IH0T4
     Powell and Mnuchin testified on the CARES Act, under which Congress made $2 trillion available to the
Treasury as coronavirus aid, a large portion of which was aimed to support the FOMC's lending programs. 
    The New Zealand dollar hit its highest since June 2018 and was last up 0.7% at US$0.7055,
    The Canadian dollar rose against the greenback, which fell 0.4% at C$1.2954, after data
showed Canada's economy grew by 40.5% on an annualized basis in the third quarter, rebounding from a
historic plunge in the second.
    Currency bid prices at 12:36PM (1736 GMT)
 Description      RIC         Last           U.S. Close  Pct Change     YTD Pct     High Bid    Low Bid
                                              Previous                   Change                 
 Dollar index                 $91.3120       91.9490     -0.68%         +0.00%      +91.9640    +91.2630
 Euro/Dollar                  $1.2045        $1.1923     +1.03%         +7.44%      +1.2055     +1.1927
 Dollar/Yen                   104.3550       104.3350    +0.05%         -3.89%      +104.5750   +104.2050
 Euro/Yen                     125.69         124.39      +1.05%         +3.07%      +125.7900   +124.4100
 Dollar/Swiss                 0.9000         0.9092      -1.00%         -6.98%      +0.9087     +0.9000
 Sterling/Dollar              1.3413         1.3325      +0.67%         +1.14%      +1.3440     +1.3316
 Dollar/Canadian              1.2949         1.3008      -0.45%         -0.32%      +1.3008     +1.2944
 Aussie/Dollar                0.7359         0.7345      +0.21%         +4.90%      +0.7373     +0.7342
 Euro/Swiss                   1.0841         1.0836      +0.05%         -0.10%      +1.0859     +1.0833
 Euro/Sterling                0.8978         0.8952      +0.29%         +6.20%      +0.9007     +0.8930
 NZ                           0.7059         0.7010      +0.71%         +4.92%      +0.7067     +0.7011
 Dollar/Norway                8.8185         8.9025      -0.89%         +0.58%      +8.9005     +8.8095
 Euro/Norway                  10.6240        10.5995     +0.23%         +7.99%      +10.6465    +10.5648
 Dollar/Sweden                8.5002         8.5725      +0.07%         -9.06%      +8.5793     +8.4842
 Euro/Sweden                  10.2401        10.2329     +0.07%         -2.19%      +10.2435    +10.1958
 (Reporting by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss Editing by David Gregorio and Nick Zieminski)