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FOREX-Dollar gains after week of losses on U.S. stimulus, Brexit fears

 (Updates details about Brexit U.S. stimulus talks, prices, comments)
    By Suzanne Barlyn
    Dec 18 (Reuters) - The dollar rose on Friday from 2-1/2-year lows as doubts about an agreement on U.S.
COVID-19 aid and Brexit trade negotiations deflated investor confidence.
    The U.S. Congress looked increasingly unlikely on Friday to meet a deadline to agree on $900 billion
in fresh COVID-19 aid and instead may pass a third stopgap spending bill to keep the government from
shutting down at midnight.
    The European Union, also on Friday, said there were just hours left to strike a Brexit trade deal
while Britain called on the bloc to see sense as the two sides race to prevent a turbulent finale to the
Brexit crisis at the end of the month.
    Brexit "is a major risk item that is not being resolved," said Juan Perez, senior foreign exchange
trader and strategist at Tempus Inc. "That ruins the whole global stability narrative and that helps the
dollar," Perez said.
    The lack of a U.S. stimulus resolution and mounting global COVID-19 deaths are also fueling the flight
to safe-haven assets, Perez said.
    The dollar index gained 0.21% to 90.0190, after dropping to 89.822 on Thursday.
    Wall Street retreated from record highs on Friday as a coronavirus stimulus deal remained in focus
ahead of a weekend deadline, while Tesla shares hit a lifetime high in anticipation of their
addition to the S&P 500 next week.
    As U.S. stimulus talks dragged on, Democratic President-elect Joe Biden's incoming chief economic
adviser said on Friday a coronavirus relief plan under negotiation in Congress should not include a
provision that would restrict the ability of the Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve to fight
economic crises.
    "As we navigate through an unprecedented economic crisis, it is in the interests of the American
people to maintain the Fed’s ability to respond quickly and forcefully," Brian Deese, who will head the
White House National Economic Council for Biden, said in a statement.
    Biden's transition team has met resistance to its requests for information from some officials in the
Department of Defense, an official on Biden's team said on Friday.
    "We were concerned to learn this week about an abrupt halt in the already limited cooperation there,"
Yohannes Abraham, the executive director of Biden's transition team, told reporters in a call, adding that
he expects the Department of Defense to reverse the decision.
    The pound, down 0.60% to $1.3505, pulled back from a 2-1/2-year high against the dollar and a
2-1/2-week high against the euro as the Brexit talks continued.
    The euro was down 0.25% at $1.2240 against the dollar and up 0.33% against the pound at 0.9060.
    Investors remain focused on Bitcoin, which last traded around $22,732.78, down 0.24% after
rocketing to its highest-ever level on Thursday. 
    The 2020 rally has also been driven by increasing expectations it will become a mainstream payment
method, with PayPal opening its network to cryptocurrencies.

    ========================================================
    Currency bid prices at 3:14PM (2014 GMT)
 Description      RIC         Last           U.S. Close  Pct Change     YTD Pct     High Bid    Low Bid
                                              Previous                   Change                 
                                              Session                                           
 Dollar index                 90.0190        89.8400     +0.21%         +0.00%      +90.1350    +89.8220
 Euro/Dollar                  $1.2240        $1.2270     -0.25%         +9.17%      +$1.2274    +$1.2226
 Dollar/Yen                   103.3050       103.0700    +0.24%         -4.88%      +103.5900   +103.1300
 Euro/Yen                     126.44         126.46      -0.02%         +3.68%      +127.0100   +126.3900
 Dollar/Swiss                 0.8840         0.8840      -0.02%         -8.66%      +0.8868     +0.8827
 Sterling/Dollar              $1.3505        $1.3586     -0.60%         +1.82%      +$1.3590    +$1.3472
 Dollar/Canadian              1.2786         1.2720      +0.53%         -1.57%      +1.2798     +1.2717
 Aussie/Dollar                $0.7611        $0.7627     -0.21%         +8.47%      +$0.7628    +$0.7583
 Euro/Swiss                   1.0819         1.0848      -0.27%         -0.29%      +1.0859     +1.0818
 Euro/Sterling                0.9060         0.9030      +0.33%         +7.17%      +0.9084     +0.9028
 NZ                           $0.7129        $0.7155     -0.38%         +5.93%      +$0.7151    +$0.7111
 Dollar/Dollar                                                                                  
 Dollar/Norway                8.5945         8.5630      +0.36%         -2.03%      +8.6220     +8.5705
 Euro/Norway                  10.5225        10.4920     +0.29%         +6.96%      +10.5550    +10.5032
 Dollar/Sweden                8.2756         8.2664      -0.22%         -11.47%     +8.3059     +8.2465
 Euro/Sweden                  10.1298        10.1519     -0.22%         -3.24%      +10.1670    +10.1103
 
    

 (Reporting by Suzanne Barlyn; editing by Jonathan Oatis)
  
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