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FOREX-Dollar holds gains as investors temper COVID-19 vaccine enthusiasm

    * Dollar index up nearly 1% this week
    * Kiwi firm as investors trim bets on negative rates
    * Mood turns more risk averse in late in Asia trade
    * Graphic: World FX rates in 2020 tmsnrt.rs/2RBWI5E

    By Tom Westbrook
    SYDNEY, Nov 12 (Reuters) - The dollar held broad gains on
Thursday as investors tempered bullish expectations about a
COVID-19 vaccine that is unlikely to avert a grim winter in
Europe and the United States as the pandemic's second wave
intensifies.
    The dollar index rose 0.1% through the Asia session,
the euro fell by the same margin and the risk-sensitive
Australian and New Zealand dollars ground about 0.3% lower.
    Europe is already grappling with surging infections and new
social restrictions, contributing to Germany's economic advisers
trimming next year's growth outlook. New York has ordered bars
and restaurants to close early as U.S. cases hit record levels.
    "In the absence of a COVID-19 vaccine, the risk of more
stringent restrictions, including localised or nationwide
lockdowns, is real," said Commonwealth Bank of Australia
currency analyst Carol Kong of the U.S. situation.
    Sterling licked its wounds as trade talks between
Britain and the European Union seemed set to drag on past yet
another deadline, raising the prospect that no trade deal may be
reached before Brexit transition arrangements end on Dec. 31.
    The moves have, for now, put the brakes on a long,
precipitous drop for the dollar, which had shed about 10%
against a basket of currencies between March and the
announcement of progress on Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine on Monday.
    Larger moves were held in check as investors await speeches
from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, European Central Bank
President Christine Lagarde and Bank of England Governor Andrew
Bailey at central banking forum later on Thursday.
    "On the relative macro front, Europe is still on a weaker
footing compared to U.S.," said OCBC Bank strategist Terence Wu,
who believes the dollar's decline is running out of steam.
    "We also view the resilience in the Australian dollar with
some skepticism, and look to turn short on the Aussie if there
are signs that equities are losing steam."  

    KIWI HOVERS
    Before a cautious mood spilled over from equities trade into
the currency markets, the kiwi made a fresh 20-month high on the
greenback as traders turned less convinced that negative rates
are a sure thing anymore for New Zealand.
    Bond markets moved sharply across the curve to price longer
odds on that possibility on Wednesday, and yields inched higher
on Thursday as the kiwi rose to $0.6915.
    "Less stimulus is required than we thought in August, but
still a substantial amount of stimulus," RBNZ Assistant Governor
Christian Hawkesby told Bloomberg in an interview.
    ANZ Bank still thinks New Zealand rates will head below zero
in August 2021, but said it's now "become a bit of a toss up"
and that it is clear that going negative is no longer urgent.
    Late in the afternoon, however, some of that move reversed
and the New Zealand dollar last sat at $0.6871, while
the Aussie retreated to $0.7264.
    Along with the virus, U.S. President Donald Trump's refusal
to concede defeat to Democrat Joe Biden in last week's election
is also beginning to jangle investors' nerves.
    CBA analysts in Sydney say a 5% leap in the greenback is
possible if Trump does find a way to stay in office, most likely
by relying on electoral college delegates to cast votes for him,
even if their states endorsed Joe Biden at the ballot box.
   
    ========================================================
    Currency bid prices at 6:15PM in Sydney (715713 GMT)
 Description      RIC         Last           U.S. Close  Pct Change     YTD Pct     High Bid    Low Bid
                                              Previous                   Change                 
                                              Session                                           
 Euro/Dollar                  $1.1771        $1.1779     -0.06%         +5.00%      +1.1787     +1.1759
 Dollar/Yen                   105.2550       105.6400    -0.35%         -3.08%      +105.4750   +105.1600
 Euro/Yen                     123.89         124.15      -0.21%         +1.59%      +124.2200   +123.6900
 Dollar/Swiss                 0.9168         0.9169      -0.02%         -5.27%      +0.9170     +0.9157
 Sterling/Dollar              1.3192         1.3223      -0.23%         -0.54%      +1.3227     +1.3182
 Dollar/Canadian              1.3093         1.3062      +0.24%         +0.79%      +1.3102     +1.3059
 Aussie/Dollar                0.7263         0.7281      -0.23%         +3.52%      +0.7293     +0.7254
 NZ                           0.6870         0.6883      -0.16%         +2.13%      +0.6914     +0.6863
 Dollar/Dollar All spots
Tokyo spots
Europe spots 
Volatilities 
Tokyo Forex market info from BOJ 
        

 (Reporting by Tom Westbrook; Editing by Sam Holmes, Lincoln
Feast and Kim Coghill)
  
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