The U.S. Dollar firmed against most of its major counterparts on Monday as markets weighed the likely impact of the newly detected Omicron variant of the coronavirus on the global economy.
The World Health Organization, which held an emergency meeting on Friday, declared the new virus variant a matter of concern, noting its transmissibility.
While the WHO has said it could take weeks to understand the variant's severity, the South African doctor who treated early cases of the new variant told the BBC countries could be "panicking unnecessarily" and the symptoms she had seen were "extremely mild."
President Joe Biden also told reporters there is no need for the U.S. to reimpose lockdowns as a result of the new variant.
The U.S. has imposed travel restrictions on South Africa and several other African nations, although Biden said he doesn't expect additional restrictions.
In U.S. economic news, the National Association of Realtors released a report showing pending home sales rebounded by much more than expected in the month of October.
NAR said its pending home sales index spiked by 7.5% to 125.2 in October after tumbling by 2.4% to a revised 116.5 in September. Economists had expected pending home sales to increase by 1% compared to the 2.3% slump originally reported for the previous month.
The dollar index, which pared some gains after rising to 96.34 in the Asian session, strengthened to 96.45 later on in the day, and is currently trading at 96.27, up nearly 0.2% from the previous close.
Against the Euro, the dollar is trading at $1.1281, strengthening from $1.1318.
The Pound Sterling is fetching $1.3303 a unit, nearly 0.3% less than Friday's close of $1.3339.
The dollar is trading at 113.67 yen, gaining 0.27% from Friday's 113.37 yen.
Against the Aussie, the dollar is trading at 0.7131, marginally down from 0.7123.
The dollar is trading at CHF0.9236, little changed from Friday's close of CHF0.9232 a unit.
The Loonie is stronger against the dollar at C$1.2754, firming from C$1.2792.