FOREX Dollar picks up as market optimism lifts riskier currencies

* Chart: world exchange rates

LONDON, Feb.15 (Reuters) – The safe-haven dollar started the week on Monday near two-week lows as optimism about the introduction of the COVID-19 vaccine and a planned $ 1.9 trillion U.S. stimulus package it pushed higher risk currencies and equity markets across Europe and Asia.

Among the winners against the weaker dollar, the British pound broke $ 1.39 for the first time in nearly three years as commodity currencies strengthened, including the South African rand which hit a new one-year high.

The increased risk appetite was also reflected in equities, with European indices rallying after Japanese equities rose to a 30-year high earlier in the day.

Many financial markets in Asia were closed on Monday for the Lunar New Year, while US equities …

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