The dollar fell against several of its major counterparts on Wednesday due to worries about the economic hit from the Omicron COVID 19 variant, with the Australian dollar on pace for a third straight session of gains.
The dollar index, which measures the dollar against six major peers, fell by 0.4% to 95.854. The index is close to the 16 month high hit late last month.
Concerns about Omicron appear to be fading a bit, particularly as increasing albeit unconfirmed data emerges pointing to infections caused by the new variant being milder than previously thought, Michael Brown, senior analyst at payments firm Caxton, said in a note.
Investors' appetite for riskier assets has improved this week as people in South Africa have shown mild symptoms of the Omicron variant.
The new variant may have a higher degree of transmissibility but is less severe, top U.S. infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci said on Tuesday.
Commodity-linked currencies, including the Australian dollar, were the main beneficiaries of the improved risk sentiment.
The Aussie dollar was 0.8% higher at $0.7177, its highest level in a week.
The Bank of Canada held its key overnight interest rate at 0.25%, as expected, and maintained its guidance that a first hike could come as soon as April 2022, as it maintained its guidance that a first hike could come as soon as April 2022.
The Norwegian crown was up about 1.8% against the U.S. dollar, helped by improved risk sentiment and higher oil prices.
The pound was 0.05% lower on the day after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson imposed tougher COVID 19 restrictions in England on Wednesday, which required people to work from home, wear masks in public places and use vaccine passes to slow the spread of the Omicron coronaviruses variant.
On Wednesday, the price of cryptocurrencies was about the same as it was at $50,567. The top executives from six major criptocurrency companies, including Coinbase and Circle, urged Congress to give clearer rules for the booming $3 trillion industry.