The U.S. dollar traded firm against its peers on Tuesday thanks largely to its safe-haven appeal after crude oil prices, which plunged to sub-zero levels for the first ever time on Monday, had yet another weak outing.

Mounting worries about the impact of the coronavirus outbreak after the World Health Organization chief warned that the “worst is yet ahead of us” in the virus pandemic supported dollar’s uptick.

The dollar index, which rallied to 100.48 in Asian trading, lost some ground and dropped to around 100.00 by mid morning, but edged up subsequently. It was last seen at 100.20, up by about 0.25% from Monday’s close.

Against the Euro, the dollar was fairly strong at $1.0817 early on in the day, but retreated to lower levels subsequently, and was at $1.0860 late afternoon. little changed from previous close.

Against pound sterling, the dollar gained more than 1% at $1.2303.

The Japanese Yen was weaker at 107.75 a dollar, compared to 107.62 a dollar Monday evening.

The Aussie was was up at $0.6292, firming up from $0.6336. Against Swiss franc, the dollar moved up to CHF 0.9696. Against the Loonie, the dollar rose to C$1.4197 as crude oil prices tumbled to historic lows.

On the U.S. economic front, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) released a report showing existing home sales pulled back sharply in the month of March.

NAR said existing home sales plunged by 8.5% to an annual rate of 5.27 million in March after spiking by 6.3% to a revised of 5.76 million in February.

Economists had expected existing home sales to plummet 8.1% to a rate of 5.30 million from the 5.77 million originally reported for the previous month.


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