* Euro, sterling gain vs weaker dollar
* Vaccine hopes trump rising cases for now
* Asian economic data boosts sentiment
* Graphic: World FX rates in 2020 https://tmsnrt.rs/2RBWI5E
By Tommy Wilkes
LONDON, Nov 16 (Reuters) – The dollar dropped and the euro and British pound gained on Monday, as investors began the week in an upbeat mood after strong data out of Asia and on hopes for a successful vaccine against COVID-19.
Despite fears of a resurgence of global cases of COVID-19, investors remain hopeful a working vaccine could rescue the global economy, helping to fuel a rally in stock markets and a rebound in riskier currencies.
Signs that Britain and the European Union might make progress negotiating a post-Brexit trade deal also encouraged investors to take on more risk.
Against a basket of currencies, the dollar softened 0.2% to 92.573.
The euro rose 0.3% to a one-week high of $1.1868 while currencies sensitive to global sentiment such as the Australian dollar notched up solid gains.
Commerzbank analysts said investor confidence that the euro region was better prepared to launch more fiscal stimulus than a divided U.S. Congress was also helping.
“In particular as the positive news about vaccine developers are providing a glimmer of hope at the end of the corona tunnel the FX market is likely to prefer an active fiscal reaction over inactivity,” said Commerzbank strategist Ulrich Leuchtmann.
“If the end of the pandemic is foreseeable the tactic of pushing the European economies over lockdown with the help of fiscal policies makes sense again to FX traders.”
Sterling rallied to as high as $1.3242 before settling at $1.3219, up 0.1%. Against the euro the pound was down marginally at 89.75 pence.
Hopes for a compromise in talks between London and Brussels over a trade deal for after their Brexit transition period were given a boost after Dominic Cummings, the most powerful adviser to Prime Minister Boris Johnson and a eurosceptic, left Downing Street.
Britain’s Brexit negotiator David Frost said on Sunday that the two sides had made some progress in their negotiations but might not succeed in getting an agreement.
“This topic remains an uncertain catalyst… The market needs to be cautious that prices could fluctuate nervously on news,” said Sumino Kamei, senior analyst at MUFG Bank.
Adding to investor optimism was data on Monday showing signs of economic recovery in China and Japan, the world’s second and third largest economies. China’s industrial output rose by a faster-than-expected 6.9% in October, while Japan’s economy grew at its fastest pace on record in the third quarter.
The Chinese yuan firmed 0.4% in offshore markets to a one-week high of 6.5663 yuan per dollar.
Analysts also said the China-backed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership deal signed by 15 Asia-Pacific economies on Sunday had boosted sentiment. (Additional reporting by Eimi Yamamitsu in Tokyo; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)