Dollar on track for winning week as US jobs data awaited, euro firm

By: | Published: March 10, 2017 6:24 AM

Markets were pricing in more than a 90 percent chance of a hike after Wednesday's private-sector payrolls report showed employers added 298,000 jobs in February.

The dollar was up 0.3 percent at 115.24 yen, firming to its highest levels since Jan. 27, and up more than 1 percent for the week.

The dollar firmed to six-week highs against the yen on Friday and looked set for a modest weekly gain as investors awaited U.S. job data later in the day that is expected to reinforce expectations of a Federal Reserve interest rate hike next week.

A surprisingly robust private U.S. jobs report from ADP heightened bets that the monthly nonfarm payrolls release would give the Fed more reason to raise interest rates at its March 14-15 meeting, as many central bank officials have recently signaled it intends to do.

Markets were pricing in more than a 90 percent chance of a hike after Wednesday’s private-sector payrolls report showed employers added 298,000 jobs in February.

Analysts polled by Reuters forecast that U.S. employers likely added 190,000 workers last month, fewer than January’s 227,000 and average hourly earnings likely grew 0.3 percent following a 0.3 percent fall in January.

The dollar was up 0.3 percent at 115.24 yen, firming to its highest levels since Jan. 27, and up more than 1 percent for the week.

“The dollar has risen as U.S. Treasury yields went up this week, but there appears to be some resistance on the upside around the middle of the 115-yen level,” said Yutaka Miura, a senior technical analyst at Mizuho Securities.

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The benchmark 10-year Treasury yield rose as high as 2.618 percent in Asian trading on Friday, its highest since Dec. 16 according to Reuters data, and well above Thursday’s U.S. close of 2.598 percent as investors factored in a U.S. rate hike.

The euro was up 0.1 percent at $1.0590, but still down 0.3 percent for the week even after comments from European Central Bank head Mario Draghi pulled it off its session lows on Thursday.

Draghi said the ECB removed a reference to using all available measures to induce growth and inflation “because the sense of urgency is not there.”

He also said the Governing Council had discussed removing a reference to lowering interest rates in its forward guidance, and had increased its inflation and growth profile for the euro zone next year.

Against the yen, the euro rose 0.4 percent to 122.03 , ascending to its highest levels since early February and up 0.8 percent for the week.

Draghi’s optimism pressured the pound, which fell as low as $1.2134, its deepest trough since Jan. 17. It was last slightly lower on the day at $1.2159, down more than 1 percent for the week.

The dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six major rivals, edged up 0.1 percent to 101.94 , and was on track to gain 0.4 percent for the week.

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