FOREX-Dollar slides to multi-month lows as Fed rate hike fears fade

 (Updates to U.S. market open, changes dateline (previous:
LONDON), changes byline)
    * Graphic: World FX rates

    By Stephen Culp
    NEW YORK, May 18  (Reuters) - The dollar extended its slide
on Tuesday, touching its lowest level since late February, as
increased risk appetite lured investors away from the safe-haven
    U.S. Treasury yields stalled as market participants grew
increasingly confident that the Federal Reserve will hold off on
hiking interest rates for the time being, despite worrisome
near-term inflation spikes.
    "We’re seeing this dollar weakness against numerous pairs
and the market is starting to believe the Fed that we’re going 
to have low interest rates a lot longer," said Edward Moya,
senior market analyst at OANDA in New York. 
    "That’s going to be bearish for the dollar. You'll
eventually see commodity-based currencies outperforming," Moya
    A spate of Fed policymakers are expected to speak this week
and the U.S. central bank is due to release the minutes from its
April policy meeting on Wednesday, which will be parsed for any
signs of a shift in its economic outlook and monetary policy.
    "Normally everyone gets excited for the Fed minutes, but
these minutes are old," Moya said. "We had a disappointing
payrolls report and very hot CPI and PPI that happened after the
meeting, most are focused on the raft of (Fed) speakers."
   The dollar index was last down 0.41% at 89.799. 
   The progress of COVID-19 vaccine deployment and easing of
measures to contain the pandemic has lifted higher-risk
currencies that stand to benefit most from economic revival.
    For an interactive graphic on worldwide vaccine rollout and
access, click here here.
    The euro gained 0.51% to $1.2214, passing its
highest level since Feb. 25, and the dollar fell 0.24% to
108.935 Japanese yen.
   The British pound, buoyed by the lifting of COVID-19
restrictions, rose past the $1.42 level for the first time since
Feb. 24.
    "What really has helped the pound is reopening momentum and
willingness to become vaccinated," Moya said. "It’s suggesting
(the UK) recovery is going to stick. They’re finally getting on
the other side of Brexit."
    Rising oil prices supported the Norwegian crown and
helped boost the Canadian dollar to a six-year high.

    Bitcoin edged higher but remained near the
three-month low it hit after Tesla Inc boss Elon Musk
dampened enthusiasm for the cryptocurrency over the weekend.

    Rival digital currency ether jumped 3.62% to
    Currency bid prices at 9:47AM (1347 GMT)
 Description      RIC         Last           U.S. Close  Pct Change     YTD Pct       High Bid    Low Bid
                                              Previous                   Change                   
 Dollar index                 89.7990        90.1840     -0.41%         -0.202%       +90.2040    +89.6890
 Euro/Dollar                  $1.2214        $1.2152     +0.51%         -0.03%        +$1.2234    +$1.2153
 Dollar/Yen                   108.9350       109.1750    -0.24%         +5.44%        +109.2750   +108.8550
 Euro/Yen                     133.04         132.73      +0.23%         +4.83%        +133.1600   +132.7000
 Dollar/Swiss                 0.8969         0.9033      -0.70%         +1.38%        +0.9035     +0.8961
 Sterling/Dollar              $1.4199        $1.4139     +0.43%         +3.94%        +$1.4220    +$1.4135
 Dollar/Canadian              1.2043         1.2068      -0.19%         -5.41%        +1.2071     +1.2014
 Aussie/Dollar                $0.7795        $0.7770     +0.31%         +1.31%        +$0.7813    +$0.7765
 Euro/Swiss                   1.0952         1.0974      -0.20%         +1.34%        +1.0982     +1.0954
 Euro/Sterling                0.8600         0.8593      +0.08%         -3.77%        +0.8609     +0.8582
 NZ                           $0.7253        $0.7216     +0.51%         +1.00%        +$0.7271    +$0.7211
 Dollar/Norway                8.1985         8.2570      -0.73%         -4.55%        +8.2580     +8.1795
 Euro/Norway                  10.0120        10.0345     -0.22%         -4.35%        +10.0530    +10.0019
 Dollar/Sweden                8.2855         8.3285      -0.01%         +1.09%        +8.3434     +8.2750
 Euro/Sweden                  10.1219        10.1225     -0.01%         +0.45%        +10.1486    +10.1170

 (Reporting by Stephen Culp;
Additional reporting by Ritvik Carvalho
Editing by Paul Simao)