FOREX-Dollar falls as improving sentiment boosts riskier currencies


    * Graphic: World FX rates tmsnrt.rs/2RBWI5E
    * Aussie and kiwi rise early against dollar
    * British pound up as exit from lockdown looms on horizon
    * Rising Treasury yields to slow dollar's decline

    By Stanley White
    TOKYO, Feb 22 (Reuters) - The U.S. dollar fell to a
three-year low against its Australian counterpart and teetered
near three-year low against the British pound as progress in
curbing coronavirus infections boosted sentiment for riskier
assets.
    The greenback also slipped toward a three-year low against
the New Zealand dollar as traders sought currencies with close
ties to the global commodities trade due to an improving
economic outlook.
    The U.S. currency, which is often considered a safe asset
during times of uncertainty, is likely to fall further as more
investors focus on economic recovery once the worst of the
coronavirus pandemic passes.
    "Commodity currencies and the pound are particularly strong
against the dollar, and this trend looks set to continue," said
Yukio Ishizuki, foreign exchange strategist at Daiwa Securities.
    "Britain's vaccination programme is making a lot of
progress. Economic activity is gradually returning to normal in
many places, which puts some pressure on the dollar."
    The Australian dollar hit $0.7892, its highest
since March 2018 while the New Zealand currency rose to
$0.7315, its strongest since April 2018.
    Vaccine rollouts will ease risks to Australia's economy over
the year, ratings agency Fitch said on Monday when it maintained
the country's top AAA credit rating, albeit with a negative
outlook.
    The euro last traded at $1.2124
    The British pound bought $1.4030, close to a
three-year high.
    Against the yen, the dollar held steady at 105.45
    Australia on Monday began its mass COVID-19 vaccine
programme as the country looked set to report no local cases for
the third straight day, which gave the Aussie a boost.

    Sterling is also in focus because British Prime Minister
Boris Johnson will plot a path out of coronavirus lockdowns
later on Monday, aided by one of the fastest vaccine rollouts in
the world.
    Dollar net short positioning fell last week to $29.09
billion, which is the lowest level since mid-December, according
to calculations by Reuters and Commodity Futures Trading
Commission data.
    U.S. dollar net shorts have fallen for four straight weeks,
which shows that there are still some investors who are
optimistic about the greenback.
    Long-term Treasury yields have been rising recently, and the
United States has also improved its response to the coronavirus,
which will lend the dollar some mild support, Daiwa's Ishizuki
said.
    In the cryptocurrency market, bitcoin eased
slightly to $57,090, but was still near a record high as the
digital asset gains more mainstream acceptance.
    Ether, a rival cryptocurrency, fell to $1,918.
    
    ========================================================
    Currency bid prices at 0014 GMT
 Description      RIC         Last           U.S. Close  Pct Change     YTD Pct     High Bid    Low Bid
                                              Previous                   Change                 
                                              Session                                           
 Euro/Dollar                  $1.2124        $1.2118     +0.04%         -0.78%      +1.2129     +1.2110
 Dollar/Yen                   105.4550       105.4900    +0.02%         +2.15%      +105.6150   +105.5050
 Euro/Yen                     127.86         127.75      +0.09%         +0.74%      +127.9800   +127.7000
 Dollar/Swiss                 0.8966         0.8965      +0.04%         +1.37%      +0.8974     +0.8968
 Sterling/Dollar              1.4030         1.4001      +0.18%         +2.66%      +1.4030     +1.4013
 Dollar/Canadian              1.2603         1.2619      -0.12%         -1.02%      +1.2617     +1.2598
 Aussie/Dollar                0.7884         0.7868      +0.20%         +2.49%      +0.7891     +0.7864
 NZ                           0.7305         0.7297      +0.10%         +1.71%      +0.7316     +0.7292
 Dollar/Dollar All spots
Tokyo spots
Europe spots 
Volatilities 
Tokyo Forex market info from BOJ

    
 (Reporting by Stanley White; Editing by Sam Holmes)
  

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