The dollar stood tall on Friday as investors scrambled for the world’s most liquid currency amid deepening panic about the coronavirus while the euro nursed losses after the European Central Bank disappointed by not cutting rates.
The greenback held gains against most currencies after a blowout in swap spreads showed investors are facing a shortage of dollars as equity markets plunged on fears about the economic impact of the flu-like virus.
The Federal Reserve moved to provide $1.5 trillion in short-term liquidity and changed the durations of Treasuries it buys, but money markets show investors expect the Fed will have to go even further to restore calm to financial markets.
Investors have so far expressed disappointment with the government response to rising infections in the United States, and traders warn there could be more disruptions in a broad range of financial markets.
The euro traded at $1.1182, following a 0.72% decline on Thursday in the wake of the ECB decision. For the week the common currency was on course for a 0.9% decline.
Against the pound the dollar held steady at $1.2544 in Asia on Friday, but that followed its biggest one-day gain against sterling since July 2016. The dollar was up 3.8% against sterling this week, its best performance since October 2016.
The greenback was also strong against the Swiss franc , trading at 0.9456, headed for a 0.9% weekly gain.
The ECB rolled out yet another stimulus package on Thursday to help fight off the coronavirus pandemic but did not join its counterparts in the United States and Britain by cutting rates.
ECB President Christine Lagarde also aggravated a market selloff by saying it was not the central bank’s job to close the spread between the borrowing costs of various members, comments which she later tried to roll back.