Dollar recovers from more than two-year low as U.S. stocks slide

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The dollar on Monday rebounded from its lowest level in 2-1/2 years, as broad risk sentiment soured again and shares on Wall Street fell, with investors disheartened by weakening U.S. economic data and the absence of any traction on another stimulus package.

FILE PHOTO: George Washington is seen with printed medical mask on the one Dollar banknotes in this illustration taken, March 31, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

Still, the greenback fell 2.3% in November, its largest monthly percentage loss since July.

In contrast, bitcoin on Monday hit an all-time high of $19,864.15 and was last up 5.7% at $19,235.96 .

“We’re seeing further softening of U.S. economic data,” said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at OANDA in New York. “And there hasn’t been any sign that we’re going to see Congress deliver a stimulus package any time soon.”

Data on Monday showed contracts to buy U.S. previously-owned homes fell for a second straight month in October, with the Pending Home Sales Index, based on contracts signed last month, falling 1.1% to 128.9.

Other data showed activity at factories in the Midwest and Texas slowing this month, with the Chicago PMI falling to 58.2 in November from 61.1 in October, as a nationwide resurgence in new COVID-19 infections curbed new orders and disrupted production.

On the last day of the month, the dollar index rose 0.2% to 91.89. It fell in five of the last seven months.

“This is just a temporary boost for the dollar,” said OANDA’s Moya. “The longer-term trend is clearly going to be dollar weakness.”

Market participants remained optimistic that U.S. President-elect Joe Biden’s administration would pose few impediments to global growth, including possibly additional monetary policy support from the Federal Reserve. Both should reduce the dollar’s safe-haven allure.

Biden on Monday unveiled his picks for several top economic positions, including former Fed Chair Janet Yellen as his nominee for Treasury secretary.

“The world is on the cusp of a major inflection point - a vaccine rollout and subsequent economic normalization - that we expect to prove positive for the currencies of exporters, select emerging markets, and producers of cyclical commodities, such as oil and base metals,” UBS Global Wealth Management wrote in a research note on Monday.

The euro slipped 0.2% against the dollar to $1.1942, after earlier hitting a three-month high of $1.20. The European Central Bank signalled earlier this year it was carefully monitoring the euro-dollar exchange rate.

The single European currency posted its best monthly performance since July, gaining 2.6% in November.

The dollar rose 0.2% against the yen to 104.33 yen.

(For graphic on major currencies - monthly performance: )

The dollar was flat to slightly higher against the Chinese yuan in the offshore market, at 6.579 .

Monday’s data showed China’s manufacturing grew at its fastest pace in more than three years in November, while services sector growth hit a three-year high.

The offshore yuan had its longest streak of monthly gains in six years, boosted by China’s economic recovery from the coronavirus and steady capital inflows.

Reporting by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss; Editing by Nick Zieminski and Paul Simao