Dollar near near almost 1-week low against major peers

Dollar near near almost 1-week low against major peers

The safe-haven dollar remained near an almost one-week low against its major peers on Thursday, as investors adopted a more optimistic outlook on the global outlook despite the rapid spread of the Omicron coronaviruses variant.

The dollar index, which measures the currency against six rivals, was at 96.111, not far from the overnight low of 96.020, touched for the first time since Dec. 17.

The risk-sensitive Australian dollar was steady at $0.72125 after Wednesday's 0.86% surge.

The pound was slightly changed at $1.33515 after a 0.63% rally.

Risk appetite has improved since Monday, when markets were rattled by government restrictions relating to the spread of Omicron.

The U.S. consumer confidence improved more than expected in December, suggesting that the economy would expand in 2022 despite a resurgence in COVID 19 infections and reduced stimulus spending.

There was also encouraging news from a South African study that showed reduced risks of hospitalisation and severe disease in people infected with Omicron compared to the Delta strain.

The euro was flat at $1.13325 after a 0.33% overnight advance.

The dollar was close to an almost one-month high from Wednesday at 114.16 yen, a safe-haven currency.

After a hawkish tilt at the Federal Reserve this month, analysts believe the dollar will strengthen in the coming months, setting the U.S. central bank apart from more dovish peers in Europe, Japan, Australia and elsewhere.

Money markets are now priced better than 50 -- 50 odds for a hike by the March policy meeting.

Ongoing data strength should help bolster Fed pricing, especially given reports that Omicron appears to be leading to fewer hospitalisations, according to TD Securities strategists.