FOREX-Dollar falls for 5th day as vaccine hopes outweigh spike in COVID cases

    * Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine trial shows 95% effective
    * Dollar index edges down to more than one-week low
    * Bitcoin surges above $18,000, but last down on the day
    * Euro ticks up, investor ignore EU recovery fund hurdles
    * Sterling gains on Brexit developments
    * Graphic: World FX rates in 2020

 (Recasts, adds new comment, FX table, updates prices, changes
byline, dateline; previous LONDON)
    By Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss
    NEW YORK, Nov 18 (Reuters) - The dollar slipped for a fifth
straight session on Wednesday, sliding to a more than one-week
low, as positive vaccine news offset the surge in coronavirus
cases and tighter economic restrictions across the United States
and Europe.
    The market showed a little more appetite for risk-taking,
with gains in currencies that rise in times of improving
sentiment such as sterling, the New Zealand dollar, and
Norwegian crown.
    Pfizer announced that the final results from the
late-stage trial of its COVID-19 vaccine showed it was 95%
effective, giving relief to a pandemic-weary market
. That followed news that Moderna Inc
released preliminary data for its vaccine, showing 94.5%
    That said, the number of reported global daily deaths from
the coronavirus stood at 10,816 on Tuesday, according to a
Reuters tally, the highest single-day death count. The United
States, the worst-affected country worldwide, has reported about
11.38 million infections and 248,574 deaths since the pandemic
    "A spike in COVID cases is generally good for the dollar and
other safe-haven currencies like the yen and Swiss franc, but
the positive vaccine news roughly counters that," said Greg
Anderson, global head of foreign exchange strategy at BMO
Capital Markets in New York.
    The dollar overall is expected to weaken as global economies
improve once the vaccine gets widely distributed and as the
Federal Reserve stands ready to provide more easing that should
further erode the value of the greenback.
    Fed Chair Jerome Powell said on Tuesday there was "a long
way to go" to economic recovery and a retail sales report
released by the U.S. Commerce Department showed spending
    In mid-morning trading, the dollar index slipped 0.1% to
92.298, after dropping as low as 92.207, its lowest level
since Nov. 9. 
    Bitcoin, sometimes regarded as a safe haven, or
at least a hedge against inflation, rose to more than $18,000
for the first time in nearly three years. It last stood around 
$17,594, down 0.4%.
    The euro was slightly up on the day at $1.1869
rising, despite Poland and Hungary blocking the European Union's
1.8 trillion-euro ($2.14 trillion) financial package to revive
an economy depressed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
    Sterling, meanwhile, rose 0.3% versus the dollar to $1.3297
 in the wake of a report from the Sun newspaper that
Prime Minister Boris Johnson was told by British negotiators to
expect a Brussels trade deal early next week, with "a possible
landing zone" as soon as next Tuesday.
    The dollar though fell 0.3% against the yen to 103.865
, with the Japanese currency recouping much of the
losses it suffered last week after Pfizer announced it had
developed a working COVID-19 vaccine. 
    China's offshore yuan surged to its highest in more than two
years against the dollar on Wednesday. The greenback though
recovered to trade 0.2% higher at 6.5619 amid dollar-buying by
major state-owned banks in what some traders suspected was an
effort to slow the Chinese currency's advance towards 6.5-per
    Currency bid prices at 10:11AM (1511 GMT)
 Description      RIC         Last           U.S. Close  Pct Change     YTD Pct     High Bid    Low Bid
                                              Previous                   Change                 
 Dollar index                 92.2960        92.4330     -0.13%         +0.00%      +92.5160    +92.2070
 Euro/Dollar                  $1.1867        $1.1861     +0.05%         +5.85%      +1.1891     +1.1851
 Dollar/Yen                   103.8250       104.1900    -0.35%         -4.41%      +104.1900   +103.8250
 Euro/Yen                     123.19         123.57      -0.31%         +1.03%      +123.6300   +123.2100
 Dollar/Swiss                 0.9108         0.9116      -0.05%         -5.84%      +0.9122     +0.9098
 Sterling/Dollar              1.3302         1.3250      +0.39%         +0.29%      +1.3305     +1.3248
 Dollar/Canadian              1.3076         1.3107      -0.23%         +0.66%      +1.3117     +1.3056
 Aussie/Dollar                0.7313         0.7300      +0.18%         +4.23%      +0.7328     +0.7272
 Euro/Swiss                   1.0807         1.0811      -0.04%         -0.41%      +1.0824     +1.0804
 Euro/Sterling                0.8919         0.8953      -0.38%         +5.50%      +0.8959     +0.8921
 NZ                           0.6927         0.6894      +0.49%         +2.96%      +0.6930     +0.6877
 Dollar/Norway                9.0210         9.0700      -0.53%         +2.84%      +9.0890     +9.0095
 Euro/Norway                  10.7050        10.7464     -0.39%         +8.81%      +10.7790    +10.6960
 Dollar/Sweden                8.5997         8.6131      -0.23%         -8.00%      +8.6359     +8.5803
 Euro/Sweden                  10.2055        10.2293     -0.23%         -2.52%      +10.2420    +10.1870
 (Reporting by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss; Additional reporting by
Julien Ponthus in London)


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