NEW YORK – The safe-haven dollar rose to a four-week high, moving within narrow ranges, amid jitters ahead of next week’s U.S. presidential election and the continued surge in global coronavirus cases that has forced lockdowns in parts of Europe.
The greenback posted its largest weekly percentage gain since late September, with investors scooping up dollars due to fears of a contested election and the economic impact of renewed lockdowns in France, Germany and some regions of Spain.
The United States recorded its 9 millionth case on Friday, nearly 3 percent of the population, with almost 229,000 dead since the outbreak of the pandemic early this year, according to a Reuters tally of publicly reported data.
Friday’s economic data, meanwhile, which showed U.S. consumer spending exceeding forecasts, had little impact on the currency market.
In afternoon trading, the dollar index rose 0.2 percent to 94.035 On the week, the index was up 1.4 percent, its best weekly performance in more than a month.
“This could well be election jitters although we have had the election on our calendar for a long time,” said Greg Anderson, global head of foreign exchange strategy at BMO Capital Markets in New York.
“It’s not as if the probability outcomes have shifted very much this week, but it is possible that some people saved position squaring up to the last moment. That has pulled euro/dollar lower a little bit,” he added.
The euro fell 0.3 percent to $1.1643, after sliding to a four-week low of $1.1640. The euro remains pressured overall after the European Central Bank on Thursday flagged further monetary easing in December.
FX volatility gauges for euro-dollar and most other major currencies were elevated, with that in the single currency at more than 10 percent on Friday.