FOREX-Dollar didukung oleh harapan pemulihan AS, bitcoin mendekati rekor $ 52.640


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

    By Kevin Buckland
    TOKYO, Feb 18 (Reuters) - The dollar held its ground on
Thursday after its first back-to-back gains in two weeks as
upbeat data bolstered expectations that the U.S. economy would
recover from the coronavirus pandemic faster than most of its
peers.
    Bitcoin traded just shy of the new record high of
$52,640 reached overnight, with its roughly 58% surge this month
prompting some analysts to warn that the rally might be
unsustainable.
    Government stimulus cheques helped U.S. retail sales rebound
sharply in January, while industrial output and producer prices
data also provided robust upside surprises.
    Investors expect a further boost from Joe Biden's proposed
$1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package, with the president
meeting top labour leaders on Wednesday to drum up support for
the plan.
    Meanwhile, minutes from the Federal Reserve's policy meeting
last month reinforced the central bank's willingness to let the
economy run hot while keeping monetary settings
ultra-accommodative.
    "Biden's stimulus plans, a steep decline in new infections
and rapid vaccine rollout leave the U.S. well positioned to
recover sooner than most," Westpac strategists wrote in a client
note.
    "That will generate periodic bouts of USD upside."
    However, like many analysts, Westpac's team expects the
dollar to decline this year, weighed by the Fed's relentless
money printing.
    The dollar index was little changed at 90.943 on
Thursday in Asia after strengthening 0.2% overnight and 0.4% on
Tuesday. 
    The gauge has gained about 1% this year, rebounding from an
almost 7% slide in 2020 that extended to a 2-1/2-year low of
89.206 in early January.
    Westpac recommends fresh dollar index shorts on rallies
toward 91.0.
    The euro was little changed at $1.20385 after
sliding 0.5% overnight, the most in two weeks.
    The dollar was almost flat at 105.845 yen,
following a pullback Wednesday after reaching a five-month high
of 106.225. 
    Treasury yields have given the dollar a boost in recent
days, with the yield on the benchmark 10-year note
rising as high as 1.333% overnight from around 1.20% at the end
of last week. It pulled back in Asia on Thursday to 1.2669%.
    "Rising U.S. yields have stopped the dollar from declining
for now," said Osamu Takashima, the Tokyo-based head of G10 FX
strategy at Citigroup Global Markets Japan.
    "In the longer term, we remain bearish on the U.S. dollar:
we expect a risk-on environment globally and under such
circumstances we think downward pressure on the U.S. dollar
could revive."
    Takashima expect the dollar to rise to as high as 107 yen
before slumping to 102 over the next three months.       
    
========================================================
    Currency bid prices at 0016 GMT
 Description      RIC         Last           U.S. Close  Pct Change     YTD Pct     High Bid    Low Bid
                                              Previous                   Change                 
                                              Session                                           
 Euro/Dollar                  $1.2044        $1.2040     +0.04%         -1.42%      +1.2046     +1.2042
 Dollar/Yen                   105.8520       105.8600    +0.00%         +2.49%      +105.9000   +0.0000
 Euro/Yen                     127.49         127.46      +0.02%         +0.45%      +127.5700   +127.4800
 Dollar/Swiss                 0.8986         0.8988      -0.01%         +1.58%      +0.8988     +0.8985
 Sterling/Dollar              1.3864         1.3865      +0.01%         +1.50%      +1.3867     +1.3861
 Dollar/Canadian              1.2693         1.2698      -0.02%         -0.31%      +1.2704     +1.2695
 Aussie/Dollar                0.7758         0.7751      +0.11%         +0.87%      +0.7760     +0.7750
 NZ                           0.7191         0.7189      +0.04%         +0.15%      +0.7194     +0.7187
 Dollar/Dollar All spots
Tokyo spots
Europe spots 
Volatilities 
Tokyo Forex market info from BOJ 

    
 (Reporting by Kevin Buckland; Editing by Sam Holmes and Kim
Coghill)
  

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