FOREX-Dollar gains in tug-of-war between vaccine, rising virus cases


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    * Mnuchin defends decision to end Fed's pandemic lending
    * U.S. dollar ends week on a loss
    * Dollar up vs euro, yen
    * Bitcoin hits fresh three-year high
    * Graphic: World FX rates in 2020

 (Adds new comment, updates prices)
    By Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss
    NEW YORK, Nov 20 (Reuters) - The dollar on Friday rose against major currencies such as the euro and
yen, with traders consolidating positions amid competing forces that pull the currency in different
directions: the surge in virus cases, on the one hand, and positive vaccine news, on the other.
    The possible resumption of U.S. stimulus talks for COVID-19 relief has also weighed on the dollar as a
safe haven. Republican and Democratic senators agreed on Thursday to revive those discussions*:nL1N2I52CI
    Overall, the greenback ended the week on a loss against a currency basket. The week started off on a
negative note for the dollar with positive news on a vaccine for COVID-19, but the market has since moved
back and forth between focusing on coronavirus cases and the virus drug.
    Pfizer Inc  PFE.N  said it had applied for emergency use authorization in the United States for its
COVID-19 vaccine.*:nL4N2I62KF
    "We think we are in the early stages of a recovery in the global economy and trade from the shock of
the pandemic and this will further" weigh on the dollar and support the euro," Jonathan Petersen, markets
economist, at Capital Economics, said.
    U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, meanwhile, defended on Friday his decision to end several of
the Federal Reserve's key pandemic lending programs on Dec. 31, saying Congress should use the money to
help small U.S. companies with grants instead.*:nW1N2HP06S
    The dollar briefly rose overnight after the Mnuchin news late Thursday.*:nL1N2I52W1*:nL1N2I608V
    "The request comes as most lending facilities haven't been tapped for more than the amount committed
by the Treasury to backstop the programmes, suggesting market functionality is sufficient to warrant their
expiration," said Monex Europe in a research note.
    In afternoon trading, the dollar was flat against a currency basket at 92.369 in a quiet day for
currency markets.
    The euro was down 0.1% against the dollar at $1.1859  EUR=EBS , posting a small weekly gain.
    Action Economics noted some pre-weekend selling in the euro going into the London close. 
    "The lack of progress between the European Union and the U.K. on Brexit trade talks has likely kept a
cap on the euro despite generally waning U.S. dollar sentiment," it said in its daily blog.
    The Australian dollar - seen as a liquid proxy for risk appetite - posted its best monthly gain versus
the U.S. dollar since April. It last traded up  0.4% at US$0.7308  AUD=D3 . 
    The New Zealand dollar hit new two-year highs of US$0.6951  NZD=D3 , helped by positive risk appetite.
It was last up 0.3% at US$0.6938. 
    The U.S. dollar was up 0.1% versus the yen at 103.81 yen  JPY=EBS .
    Elsewhere,  Bitcoin  BTC=BTSP  rose to a three-year high of $18,824 on Friday, getting close to its
all-time high of just under $20,000. It was last up 4.6% at $18,646.15.*:nL8N2I645X
    Currency bid prices at 3:32PM (2032 GMT)
 Description      RIC         Last           U.S. Close  Pct Change     YTD Pct     High Bid    Low Bid
                                              Previous                   Change                 
 Dollar index      =USD       92.3680        92.3750     +0.01%         +0.00%      +92.4360    +92.2010
 Euro/Dollar       EUR=EBS    $1.1859        $1.1873     -0.11%         +5.79%      +1.1891     +1.1850
 Dollar/Yen        JPY=D3     103.8150       103.7650    +0.08%         -4.39%      +103.9050   +103.7500
 Euro/Yen          EURJPY=    123.11         123.18      -0.06%         +0.95%      +123.4700   +123.0300
 Dollar/Swiss      CHF=EBS    0.9113         0.9107      +0.08%         -5.81%      +0.9123     +0.9093
 Sterling/Dollar   GBP=D3     1.3286         1.3265      +0.16%         +0.17%      +1.3297     +1.3249
 Dollar/Canadian   CAD=D3     1.3090         1.3073      +0.15%         +0.78%      +1.3096     +1.3039
 Aussie/Dollar     AUD=D3     0.7306         0.7283      +0.33%         +4.13%      +0.7324     +0.7267
 Euro/Swiss        EURCHF=    1.0807         1.0810      -0.03%         -0.41%      +1.0823     +1.0795
 Euro/Sterling     EURGBP=    0.8924         0.8955      -0.35%         +5.56%      +0.8962     +0.8919
 NZ                NZD=D3     0.6936         0.6922      +0.22%         +3.09%      +0.6950     +0.6905
 Dollar/Norway     NOK=D3     9.0015         8.9880      +0.14%         +2.61%      +9.0470     +8.9700
 Euro/Norway       EURNOK=    10.6780        10.6890     -0.10%         +8.45%      +10.7548    +10.6494
 Dollar/Sweden     SEK=       8.6195         8.5977      +0.19%         -7.79%      +8.6245     +8.5847
 Euro/Sweden       EURSEK=    10.2228        10.2035     +0.19%         -2.35%      +10.2340    +10.2026
Dollar index
 (Reporting by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss; Editing by Steve Orlofsky and Marguerita Choy)
 ((; 646-301-4124; Reuters Messaging:

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