© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: US dollar bill and Japanese 10,000 yen banknotes can be seen in this photo illustration in Tokyo, February 28, 2013. REUTERS / Shohei Miyano / File Photo
By Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss and Saikat Chatterjee
NEW YORK / LONDON (Reuters) – The U.S. dollar climbed to a three-month high on Tuesday in a flight to a security bid as investors worried about a rapidly spreading coronavirus variant that could dampen global growth.
Crude currencies linked to risk appetite such as the Australian, New Zealand and Canadian dollars have struggled, with investors opting for security or staying sidelined amid renewed fears about the highly contagious Delta variant, now the dominant coronavirus strain worldwide.
The United States, for example, has seen an increase in infections, especially in places where vaccinations have been delayed.
The gains in the dollar come at a time when yield differentials have moved against it. Resumption 10-year U.S. Treasury yields fell to a five-month low below 1.20% on Monday. [US/]
“Many believe the best recovery has already passed us by and what’s even worse, the medical concern that seemed to fade seems to be coming back with revenge,” said Juan Perez, FX strategist and trader at Tempus Inc in Washington.
“I believe the safe haven deserves, given that global progress has been anemic to that as it emerged in Q1, so now all estimates and high expectations for growth are rightly questioned,” he added.
Amid morning trading, the, a measure of its value against six major currencies, rose 0.2% to 93,086, after hitting a three-month high of 93,161 earlier in the session.
Data showing U.S. housing growth rose 6.3% to a seasonal annual rate of 1.643 million units last month reacted little from the FX market.
The euro weakened 0.3% to $ 1.1765, after falling to $ 1.1755, the lowest since early April ahead of the European Central Bank’s policy decision on Thursday.
The British pound was also among the biggest losers, with the currency declining 0.5% to $ 1.3607 as Boris Johnson’s “day of freedom” – ending more than a year of COVID-19 restrictions in England – has been damaged by growing infections.
The Australian dollar fell to its lowest level since the end of November and the latter fell 0.2% to 0.7322 US dollars.
The losses were widespread as some economists viewed minutes from the Reserve Bank of Australia’s policy meeting this month as a sign that the central bank could overturn a decision to reduce stimulus.
“The price action continues to send an ominous warning signal over the global growth outlook and indicates that market participants fear a more noticeable slowdown,” MUFG’s strategies said in a daily note.
In cryptocurrencies, bitcoin dropped to $ 29,296.39, a level not seen since June 22nd. It fell 4% to $ 29,615. Rival ether fell 3.5% to $ 1,756.39.
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