FOREX-Dollar on back foot as Biden optimism bolsters riskier currencies

    * Greenback and other traditional havens lag as stocks hit
    * Canadian dollar paced gains in commodity currencies
    * Graphic: World FX rates

    By Kevin Buckland
    TOKYO, Jan 21 (Reuters) - The dollar held losses versus most
major peers on Thursday as optimism that a massive U.S. stimulus
package under the new Joe Biden administration will bolster
growth sapped demand for safe-haven currencies.
    Riskier commodity currencies remained higher after U.S.
stocks rose to new records overnight as Biden, who has laid out
plans for a $1.9 trillion pandemic relief package, was sworn in
as President.
    The dollar tumbled to a three-year low against its Canadian
counterpart on Wednesday after the Bank of Canada opted not to
cut interest rates. 
    "Risk sentiment is quite positive right now and we expect it
to remain so this year, with growth expected to rebound quite
strongly," said Shinichiro Kadota, senior currency strategist at
Barclays Capital in Tokyo.
    The Canadian dollar and Norwegian crown are likely to
outperform, while European currencies lag, he said. 
    The greenback should also strengthen this year as the United
States recovers faster than most other countries, he added.
    The U.S. currency slipped 0.1% to C$1.2623 in early
Asian trading, declining for a third day and touching a
three-year low at C$1.2607 overnight. 
    The dollar slid 0.2% to 8.48 Norwegian crowns, also a
third day of declines.
    The Aussie dollar rose 0.1% to 77.505 U.S. cents,
adding to a 0.7% rally in the previous session. Australia
boasted another solid rise in employment in December, data
released Thursday showed.
    Biden was sworn in as the 46th president of the United
States on Wednesday, vowing to end the "uncivil war" in a deeply
divided country reeling from a battered economy and a raging
coronavirus pandemic that has killed more than 400,000
    North of the border, the Bank of Canada said Wednesday that
the arrival of a COVID-19 vaccine and stronger foreign demand is
brightening the economic outlook in the medium term, opting to
hold its key overnight interest rate at 0.25%. Money markets had
been watching the prospect of a so-called micro rate cut of less
than 25 basis points.
    The Japanese and European central banks decide on policy
Thursday, with no change expected.
    The dollar was mostly flat at 103.59 yen on
Thursday, another safe haven currency, after sliding to a
two-week low of 103.45 overnight.
    The euro gained 0.2%, reversing a similar decline from the
previous session, to trade at $1.21245. 
    European countries are struggling to contain the novel
coronavirus amid worries that a new variant could lead to more
stringent lockdowns and more economic pain.
    The dollar index slipped 0.1% to 90.335, after
closing almost unchanged on Wednesday.
    Full coverage for Eikon readers of the U.S. presidential
transition here
    For multimedia coverage please open
 in a separate browser
    Currency bid prices at 10:19AM (119 GMT)
 Description      RIC         Last           U.S. Close  Pct Change     YTD Pct     High Bid    Low Bid
                                              Previous                   Change                 
 Euro/Dollar                  $1.2127        $1.2106     +0.18%         -0.74%      +1.2130     +1.2106
 Dollar/Yen                   103.5020       103.5500    -0.02%         +0.23%      +103.6520   +103.5300
 Euro/Yen                     125.52         125.33      +0.15%         -1.10%      +125.5900   +125.3300
 Dollar/Swiss                 0.8886         0.8898      -0.12%         +0.45%      +0.8899     +0.8887
 Sterling/Dollar              1.3675         1.3660      +0.15%         +0.14%      +1.3679     +1.3656
 Dollar/Canadian              1.2615         1.2635      -0.17%         -0.94%      +1.2634     +1.2612
 Aussie/Dollar                0.7767         0.7747      +0.27%         +0.98%      +0.7772     +0.7746
 NZ                           0.7192         0.7170      +0.33%         +0.18%      +0.7198     +0.7173
 Dollar/Dollar All spots
Tokyo spots
Europe spots 
Tokyo Forex market info from BOJ 

 (Reporting by Kevin Buckland)