U.S. dollar gains as Powell says risk of inflation has increased



* Graphic: World FX rates Link

By Caroline Valetkevitch

NEW YORK, Nov 30 (Reuters) - The U.S. dollar strengthened on Tuesday after Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said the risk of inflation had increased and suggested retiring the term "transitory" for inflation, while worries about the new Omicron coronavirus variant kept a bid in safe-haven currencies.

During a hearing with the U.S. Senate Banking Committee, Powell also said higher prices are generally related to the pandemic.

The dollar index =USD turned positive after the Powell comments and was last up 0.1% at 96.331.

Earlier, the Japanese yen and Swiss franc rose against the dollar, after Moderna's CEO said the coronavirus vaccines will likely be less effective against the Omicron variant as they have been against other variants.

Adding to the fears, drugmaker Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc REGN.O said on Tuesday its COVID-19 antibody treatment could be less effective against Omicron.

The warnings reinforced a view that the global economy could take longer to return to pre-pandemic levels than many had been expecting.

Against the U.S. dollar, the euro EUR=EBS was last down 0.1% at $1.1279 and the single currency earlier registered its biggest three-day rising streak since December 2020.

The Japanese yen JPY=EBS was last up 0.2% at 113.31 per U.S. dollar.

"Traders are in 'sell first and ask questions later' mode. You are seeing that global flight to safety," said Karl Schamotta, chief market strategist at Cambridge Global Payments in Toronto.

Prior to Omicron's arrival, the main driver of currency moves was how traders perceived the different speeds at which global central banks would end pandemic-era stimulus and raise interest rates as they looked to combat rising inflation without choking off growth.

Cryptocurrencies also had a volatile trading session. Ethereum ETH=BTSP was last up about 4% at $4,638 ETH=BTSP . Bitcoin BTC=BTSP was down 0.6% at $57,453.

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Currency bid prices at 11:29AM (1629 GMT) Description

RIC

Last

U.S. Close Pct Change

YTD Pct

High Bid

Low Bid

Previous

Change

Session

Dollar index

=USD

96.3150

96.1990

+0.13%

7.039%

+96.6470

+95.5440 Euro/Dollar

EUR=EBS

$1.1279

$1.1293

-0.13%

-7.69%

+$1.1387

+$1.1235 Dollar/Yen

JPY=EBS

113.3900

113.5300

-0.12%

+9.74%

+113.8900 +112.5350 Euro/Yen

EURJPY=

127.88

128.19

-0.24%

+0.76%

+128.6000 +127.6800 Dollar/Swiss

CHF=EBS

0.9220

0.9227

-0.08%

+4.21%

+0.9266

+0.9158 Sterling/Dollar GBP=D3

$1.3242

$1.3318

-0.55%

-3.06%

+$1.3370

+$1.3195 Dollar/Canadian CAD=D3

1.2799

1.2738

+0.49%

+0.53%

+1.2837

+1.2732 Aussie/Dollar

AUD=D3

$0.7095

$0.7143

-0.69%

-7.79%

+$0.7170

+$0.7063 Euro/Swiss

EURCHF=

1.0396

1.0418

-0.21%

-3.80%

+1.0444

+1.0391 Euro/Sterling

EURGBP=

0.8515

0.8477

+0.45%

-4.72%

+0.8526

+0.8474 NZ

NZD=D3

$0.6795

$0.6825

-0.44%

-5.38%

+$0.6856

+$0.6773 Dollar/Dollar

Dollar/Norway

NOK=D3

9.1105

9.0455

+0.68%

+6.06%

+9.1260

+9.0150 Euro/Norway

EURNOK=

10.2775

10.1786

+0.97%

-1.81%

+10.3158

+10.1737 Dollar/Sweden

SEK=

9.0764

9.0594

+0.04%

+10.74%

+9.1103

+9.0069 Euro/Sweden

EURSEK=

10.2381

10.2336

+0.04%

+1.60%

+10.3036

+10.2077



World FX rates Link



Additional reporting by Saikat Chatterjee in London; Editing by Bernadette Baum

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