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FOREX-Dollar on track for worst year since 2017

    * Graphic: World FX rates in 2020 tmsnrt.rs/2RBWI5E

 (Adds quotes, updates prices; previous LONDON)
    By Karen Brettell
    NEW YORK, Dec 31 (Reuters) - The dollar was on track for its
worst yearly loss since 2017 on Thursday as expectations of
additional fiscal stimulus and loose Federal Reserve monetary
policies lead investors to shun the currency and project further
weakness in 2021.
    An improving economic outlook as COVID-19 vaccines are
rolled out and unprecedented fiscal and monetary stimulus has
dimmed the allure of the greenback.
    The U.S. currency is also suffering from rising fiscal and
current account deficits that show no signs of slowing down.
    "I expect the dollar to depreciate further over the next few
years as the Fed keeps rates at zero whilst maintaining its
bloated balance sheet," Kevin Boscher, chief investment officer
at asset manager Ravenscroft, told clients.
    "The magnitude of the twin-deficits dwarfs any other major
economy," he said.
    The dollar was little changed against a basket of currencies
 at 89.59, after earlier dropping to 89.52, the lowest
since April 2018. It is down more than 7% this year.
    Trading is thin with many investors out between the
Christmas and New Year holidays.
    The euro slid 0.16% to $1.2281 after reaching
$1.2310 on Wednesday, the highest since April 2018.
    The Aussie and kiwi both hit their highest levels since
April 2018 with the Aussie surging as high as $0.7743 and
the New Zealand dollar reaching $0.7241.
    The dollar slipped 0.18% against the Japanese yen to 103.07
yen. It is holding just above a nine-month low of 102.86 yen
reached on Dec. 17.
    Data on Thursday showed that the number of Americans filing
first-time claims for unemployment benefits unexpectedly fell
last week but remain elevated more than nine months.

    U.S. Senate leader Mitch McConnell dealt a likely death blow
on Wednesday to President Donald Trump's bid to boost
coronavirus aid to Americans, declining to schedule a swift
Senate vote on a bill to raise relief checks to $2,000 from
$600.
    However, U.S. President-elect Joe Biden is expected to push
for more measures to support the U.S. economy after he is
inaugurated next month.
    Investors are also watching runoff elections in Georgia for
two Senate seats next month that will determine which party
controls the Senate. If the Republicans win one or both of the
Georgia seats, they will retain a slim majority in the chamber
and can block Biden's legislative goals and judicial nominees.

    Sterling got a boost after Britain's markets watchdog
intervened hours before the country leaves the European Union's
single market on Thursday with a partial climbdown on curbs that
risked disrupting swaps trades worth billions of euros.

    The pound was last up 0.23% at $1.3655, after
earlier reaching $1.3686, the highest since May 2018.
    Bitcoin reached a record high of $29,300 taking the yearly
gain for the world's most popular cryptocurrency past 300%
.
    The greenback fell 0.24% against the Canadian dollar to a
13-day low of 1.2719 Canadian dollars. The loonie's rise has
lagged other currencies including the Aussie and kiwi.
    "The lack of direction in oil prices over that last 10 days
or so has rendered the Canadian dollar the underperformer of the
dollar bloc pack," analysts at Action Economics said in a report
on Thursday.
    
    ========================================================
    Currency bid prices at 9:14AM (1414 GMT)
 Description      RIC         Last           U.S. Close   Pct Change     YTD Pct     High Bid    Low Bid
                                              Previous                    Change                 
                                              Session                                            
 Dollar index                 89.5860        89.5950      +0.01%         +0.00%      +89.7230    +89.5150
 Euro/Dollar                  $1.2281        $1.2300      -0.16%         +9.54%      +$1.2310    +$1.2260
 Dollar/Yen                   103.0700       103.2600     -0.18%         -5.11%      +103.2250   +103.0050
 Euro/Yen                     126.57         126.92       -0.28%         +3.78%      +126.9800   +126.3900
 Dollar/Swiss                 0.8798         0.8814       -0.18%         -9.07%      +0.8824     +0.8794
 Sterling/Dollar              $1.3655        $1.3626      +0.23%         +2.97%      +$1.3685    +$1.3600
 Dollar/Canadian              1.2719         1.2751       -0.24%         -2.09%      +1.2757     +1.2718
 Aussie/Dollar                $0.7734        $0.7686      +0.62%         +10.23%     +$0.7742    +$0.7682
 Euro/Swiss                   1.0804         1.0841       -0.34%         -0.44%      +1.0846     +1.0801
 Euro/Sterling                0.8991         0.9025       -0.38%         +6.35%      +0.9035     +0.8976
 NZ                           $0.7232        $0.7205      +0.37%         +7.48%      +$0.7240    +$0.7204
 Dollar/Dollar                                                                                   
 Dollar/Norway                8.5000         8.5400       -0.08%         -2.72%      +8.5500     +8.5120
 Euro/Norway                  10.4657        10.4915      -0.25%         +6.38%      +10.5230    +10.4480
 Dollar/Sweden                8.1666         8.1964       -0.41%         -12.63%     +8.2119     +8.1504
 Euro/Sweden                  10.0350        10.0764      -0.41%         -4.15%      +10.0949    +10.0100
 
    
    

 (Additional reporting by Sujata Rao in London; Editing by Angus
MacSwan)
  
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