The U.S. Dollar firmed up against most of its peers on Friday, as worries about growth amid continued surge in coronavirus cases and tighter lockdown restrictions in several countries lifted the currency’s safe-haven appeal.
The dollar’s strength was also due to possibility of Joe Biden’s aid package failing to get the approval of the Senate Republicans.
On the economic front, a report from the National Association of Realtors showed an unexpected rebound in existing home sales in the month of December.
NAR said existing home sales climbed by 0.7% to an annual rate of 6.76 million in December after tumbling by 2.2% to a revised rate of 6.71 million in November.
The rebound surprised economists, who had expected existing home sales to slump by 2.1% to a rate of 6.55 million from the 6.69 million originally reported for the previous month.
The dollar index rose to 90.31 from a low of 90.05 it touched in the Asian session, was at 90.22 a little while ago, gaining about 0.1%.
Against the Euro, the dollar was down slightly at $1.2172 recovering from an early low of $1.2190. Better-than-expected German PMI data supported the Euro.
The Pound Sterling was weak against the dollar, fetching $1.2684 a unit, after having closed at $1.3731 on Thursday. Weak U.K. retail sales and PMI data, as well as concerns over the looming border closure to prevent the spread of new coronavirus variant weighed on the British currency.
The Yen was down at 103.76 a dollar, compared with 103.49 a dollar Thursday evening.
The Aussie was weak against the dollar at U.S$ 0.7714, as against US$ 0.7764. Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed that Australia’s retail sales tumbled a seasonally adjusted 4.2% on month in December – coming in at A$30.324 billion. That missed expectations for a decline of 2.5% following the 7.1% jump in November.
The Swiss franc was flat 0.8855 a dollar, while the Loonie was at 1.2733 a dollar, giving up about 0.75%. data from Statistics Canada showed retail sales in Canada increased by 1.3% month-over-month in November of 2020, beating market forecasts for a rise of 0.1%. Compared to sales in November 2019, retail Sales increased 7.5% percent in November 2020.