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FOREX-Dollar hovers near two-year lows as U.S. stimulus, Fed meeting embolden investors

 (Updates prices)
    By Suzanne Barlyn
    Dec 15 (Reuters) - The dollar hovered close to two-year lows on Tuesday as progress toward a massive
U.S. government spending bill and COVID-19 relief measures boosted spirits while investors hoped for
ongoing cues of easy monetary policy from the Federal Reserve's final meeting of the year.
    The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of currencies, was last at 90.458
, after sinking as low as 90.419 on Monday, a level unseen since April 2018.
    Hopes that U.S. lawmakers can agree on $1.4 trillion in spending and more clarity about COVID-19
vaccine distribution have whetted investors' risk appetite, driving them away from safe-haven currencies.

    The upbeat investor sentiment drove Wall Street's main indexes higher on Tuesday. Apple Inc
was the top boost to all three U.S. benchmarks, rising 3.5% to a more than three-month high after a report
said it plans to increase iPhone production by 30% in the first half of 2021.
    Top U.S. congressional leaders are meeting at 4 p.m. (2100 GMT) on Tuesday as they seek to finalize a
massive government funding bill and end a standoff on coronavirus relief, with Treasury Secretary Steven
Mnuchin joining by telephone, the office of House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat,
said.
    Despite alarming COVID-19 infection and death rates across Europe and the United States, progress on
vaccine rollout continued. Moderna Inc's COVID-19 vaccine appeared set for regulatory authorization this
week.
    "Today we've been just kind of sitting back and waiting, on the dollar side, for news from Capitol
Hill," said John Doyle, vice president of dealing and trading at Tempus Inc in Washington. "That's how the
day started and I don't see any huge moves that would have changed the outlook for that yet."
    The Fed, which begins a two-day meeting on Tuesday, is expected to keep its key overnight interest
rate pinned near zero and to signal it will stay there for years to come. Such moves would
further boost investors' confidence for risk-taking, analysts said.
    Many analysts also expect new guidance on how long the Fed will keep up its massive bond-buying
program. 
    Sterling hit a session high on Tuesday after a report that a Brexit trade deal may be close. British
Prime Minister Boris Johnson, also on Tuesday, repeated to his top ministers that the most likely outcome
of post-Brexit trade talks with the European Union was no deal.
    The pound was last at $1.3444, up 0.89%.
    Broad-based selling of the U.S. dollar drove the euro to hover near a 2-1/2-year peak on Tuesday. The
single currency has rocketed 4% since early November to its highest level since April 2018.
    The euro was last at $1.2155, up 0.10%..
    
    The Australian dollar was up 0.41% at $0.7562 after touching the highest since June 2018 at
$0.7578 on Monday.
    Bitcoin was last at $19,505.27, up 1.17%.
    
========================================================
    Currency bid prices at 3:28PM (2028 GMT)
 Description      RIC         Last           U.S. Close  Pct Change     YTD Pct     High Bid    Low Bid
                                              Previous                   Change                 
                                              Session                                           
 Dollar index                 90.4580        90.6960     -0.25%         +0.00%      +90.8240    +90.4120
 Euro/Dollar                  $1.2155        $1.2143     +0.10%         +8.42%      +1.2169     +1.2121
 Dollar/Yen                   103.6500       104.0450    -0.32%         -4.52%      +104.1450   +103.7100
 Euro/Yen                     125.98         126.33      -0.28%         +3.30%      +126.5800   +125.9600
 Dollar/Swiss                 0.8855         0.8869      -0.16%         -8.49%      +0.8880     +0.8851
 Sterling/Dollar              1.3444         1.3327      +0.89%         +1.37%      +1.3451     +1.3280
 Dollar/Canadian              1.2689         1.2767      -0.60%         -2.32%      +1.2771     +1.2689
 Aussie/Dollar                0.7562         0.7532      +0.41%         +7.79%      +0.7571     +0.7508
 Euro/Swiss                   1.0763         1.0769      -0.06%         -0.82%      +1.0785     +1.0759
 Euro/Sterling                0.9041         0.9107      -0.72%         +6.94%      +0.9149     +0.9038
 NZ                           0.7096         0.7082      +0.18%         +5.44%      +0.7098     +0.7060
 Dollar/Dollar                                                                                  
 Dollar/Norway                8.7145         8.7320      -0.20%         -0.66%      +8.7530     +8.7145
 Euro/Norway                  10.5920        10.6310     -0.37%         +7.67%      +10.6375    +10.5920
 Dollar/Sweden                8.3827         8.4000      -0.15%         -10.32%     +8.4202     +8.3654
 Euro/Sweden                  10.1903        10.2058     -0.15%         -2.66%      +10.2215    +10.1760
 

    
 (Reporting by Suzanne Barlyn; Editing by Andrea Ricci and Jonathan Oatis)
  
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