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FOREX-Dollar heavy as clues sought on pace of U.S. recovery; bitcoin near record high

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

    By Kevin Buckland
    TOKYO, Feb 15 (Reuters) - The dollar started the week pinned
near two-week lows on Monday as traders questioned whether the
recovery from the pandemic in the United States would be as fast
as expected.
    Bitcoin traded below $49,000 after pushing to a
record $49,714.66 over the weekend, following endorsements last
week by Tesla and BNY Mellon.
    The dollar index was at 90.427, close to last week's
low of 90.249 - a level not seen since Jan. 27.
    The gauge hit a two-month top of 91.6 on Feb. 5 on hopes
that a U.S. rebound would outpace other major economies, but has
since retreated amid disappointing employment data.
    "The rebound in the dollar ... was initiated by relative
U.S. economic outperformance, or expectations thereof," said
Shinichiro Kadota, senior currency strategist at Barclays
Capital in Tokyo. "Now the market is looking for actual evidence
that the U.S. economy is outperforming."
    "The economic data needs to improve," he said.
    The euro was little changed at $1.21215 after
climbing 0.6% last week.
    The dollar rose 0.2% to 105.09 yen, recovering
from some of the previous week's 0.4% loss.
    Many financial markets in Asia remained closed on Monday for
Lunar New Year, with the United States also out for Presidents
Day.
    There has been a tug-of-war over the dollar's direction this
year with some market participants expecting it to strengthen as
the U.S. economy outperforms peers including Europe.
    Others view the U.S. recovery as a key driver in a global
reflation narrative that should lift riskier assets at the
dollar's expense.
    "The U.S. outperformance story ... has a lot further to run
thanks to fiscal stimulus and faster vaccine deployment,"
Westpac strategists wrote in a client note.
    "But ongoing aggressive U.S. reflationary fiscal and
monetary policy settings will leave DXY on a sustained
medium-term bear trend," the note said, referring to the dollar
index.
    Bitcoin last traded at $48,772, little changed from the
record high. It surged roughly 25% last week for its best
performance since the turn of the year.


========================================================
    Currency bid prices at 10:09AM (109 GMT)
 Description      RIC         Last           U.S. Close  Pct Change     YTD Pct     High Bid    Low Bid
                                              Previous                   Change                 
                                              Session                                           
 Euro/Dollar                  $1.2121        $1.2119     +0.02%         -0.79%      +1.2125     +1.2117
 Dollar/Yen                   105.0320       104.9250    +0.17%         +1.75%      +105.1300   +105.0750
 Euro/Yen                     127.31         127.14      +0.13%         +0.31%      +127.4500   +127.1800
 Dollar/Swiss                 0.8921         0.8919      +0.03%         +0.84%      +0.8925     +0.8920
 Sterling/Dollar              1.3873         1.3852      +0.17%         +1.56%      +1.3876     +1.3863
 Dollar/Canadian              1.2686         1.2689      -0.02%         -0.37%      +1.2689     +1.2682
 Aussie/Dollar                0.7761         0.7760      +0.04%         +0.92%      +0.7769     +0.7760
 NZ                           0.7220         0.7215      +0.10%         +0.57%      +0.7222     +0.7207
 Dollar/Dollar All spots
Tokyo spots
Europe spots 
Volatilities 
Tokyo Forex market info from BOJ 

    
 (Reporting by Kevin Buckland; Editing by Himani Sarkar)
  
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