NEW YORK- The US dollar rose across the board to hit a four-week high against a basket of currencies, as data showing the COVID-19 pandemic’s continuing toll on the economy boosted demand for the safe-haven currency.
US retail sales fell for a third straight month in December amid job losses and renewed measures to slow the spread of COVID-19, the Commerce Department reported on Friday, further evidence the economy lost speed at the end of 2020.
The weak data dragged US Treasury yields lower and US stocks fell as investors turned more risk-averse on Friday.
“I feel that after all the optimism regarding vaccines, we are now living the reality of a very slow (vaccine) rollout, which is weighing heavily on business activity,” said Juan Perez, senior currency trader at Tempus Inc in Washington.
“Until we have more guarantees on the medical front, markets will not continue to flourish despite whatever financial aid may be on the way,” Perez said.
Democratic President-elect Joe Biden on Thursday revealed a nearly $2 trillion proposal to address the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic harm that included $20 billion for vaccine distribution and $50 billion for testing. It builds on the $982 billion COVID-19 relief bill passed in December, more than tripling the funding allocated to state and local governments for vaccine distribution.