The dollar index dropped -0.07 percent on Monday to $89.88 on the currency markets, after slipping 6.7 percent year-on-year in 2020, returning to its lowest level since March 2018 versus a basket of six benchmark currencies. The euro, on the other hand, soared 0.9 percent to $1.2247, the highest versus the greenback in two and a half years. The European currency surpassed the $1.23 ($1.2309 at the peak, 1.3 percent) session threshold, helped in particular by the December announcement of a very reassuring manufacturing PMI in Europe.
The short-term progression of the coronavirus pandemic, which continues to spread very quickly in Europe and the United States amid the launch of vaccine drives in December, has weighed on the dollar’s strength which is also being debated by investors. In the United Kingdom, faced with an explosion in the number of cases, including a new, more infectious variant, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson proposed a new lockdown in England until mid-February on Monday evening. Hours earlier, Scotland had declared a new absolute lockdown for the whole of January on Monday as well. Only after Christmas, the regions of Northern Ireland and Wales have already deployed their third lockdown.
While investors remain confident that 2021 will be the year of economic growth and disease victory, they are concerned about both the current acceleration and the slower-than-expected vaccination rate, particularly in the United States.
4.2 million people got the first dose of one of the two approved vaccines (Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna) in the world, when the US authorities were planning to vaccinate 20 million people as early as December. The prospect of prescribing half-doses of vaccine to speed up the pace of the program is now being spoken about.
According to Johns Hopkins University, since the peak of the outbreak, the number of reported cases of the latest coronavirus has now reached more than 85 million worldwide, including 20.6 million in the United States, 10.3 million in India and about 7.7 million in Brazil. 1.84 million people globally have been killed by the outbreak, with about 352,000 in the United States.
In the United States, a record number of nearly 300,000 new 24-hour cases were reported on Saturday, and on December 30, the 24-hour death toll stood at 3,750, before returning to 2,398 on Saturday. Because of the coronavirus, more than 125,000 people are hospitalized in the country, again a record figure.