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Forex: Dollar Advance Kept in Check by Yen Amid Safe-Haven Rush

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The dollar remained on the back foot Monday, pressured by a surprise fall in new home sales data and a bid in the yen and Swiss franc as worries intensified over the spread of the deadly coronavirus.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, rose by 0.12% to 97.97.

The Commerce Department said new home sales fell fell 0.4% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 694,000 units in December, confounding expectations for a 1.5% rise to 730,000 units.

The surprise drop in new home sales did little to steady the greenback against the yen and Swiss franc following a sharp uptick in safe-haven demand on reports of more Chinese deaths from the coronavirus.

USD/JPY fell 0.28% to $109.00 and USD/CHF fell 0.13% to 0.968.

The weakness in the greenback comes just a day ahead of the Federal Open Market Committee's two-day meeting, which is expected to culminate in an unchanged interest rate decision.

EUR/USD slipped 0.02% to $1.1102 as German business confidence unexpectedly slipped in January, denting hopes that the weakness in the manufacturing sector had steadied.

With just a few days go until the Bank of England decision and Brexit, the pound remained under pressure against the greenback falling 0.21% to $1.308.

USD/CAD rose 0.28% to C$1.3180 as the loonie tracked oil prices lower amid ongoing fears that a continued spread of the virus could dent travel and tourism, keeping a lid on oil demand.

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