CURRENCIES: Dollar Advances Ahead Of Key U.S. Jobs Data
By Sarah Turner, MarketWatch
SYDNEY (MarketWatch) -- The dollar climbed on Friday, nearing a four-year high against the Japanese yen, with the
market awaiting key U.S. jobs data due later in the day.
The ICE dollar index (DXY), which measures the greenback against a basket of six major rivals, reached 82.200 on
Friday, up from 82.090 in late North American trading Thursday.
The WSJ Dollar Index , which uses a slightly wider basket of rival units, also gained -- rising to 73.36 from 73.22
Economists polled by MarketWatch forecast the U.S. to have added 160,000 jobs in February compared to a net addition
of 157,000 in January, after companies turned a bit cautious ahead of the so-called sequester.
Still, some indicators -- such as the ADP jobs report covering private-sector hiring, as well as weekly jobless claims
and the ISM business surveys -- suggested hiring might be slightly stronger. Read: What to look for in February jobs
Crédit Agricole strategists said ahead of the data that they "expect the jobs report to come in better than
expected, as recent data, including the ADP employment report, suggest an overall positive month for the U.S. labor
IG Markets chief market strategist Chris Weston said that the dollar has gained recently along with U.S. stock
markets, which he said "solidifies our theory that the U.S. dollar is becoming an asset/investment currency -- this
could hold true again today."
Still, "trading around this release is clearly for the brave," he said. Read: Why the dollar could rise on a good --
or bad -- payrolls report
Against the yen, the dollar (USDJPY) surged Friday to Yen95.32. It hadn't traded above Yen95 since August 2009.
RBC Capital Markets strategist Su-Lin Ong said the yen hit some key levels in Friday's trading session and attributed
the move to a combination of "generally higher U.S. yields, stronger U.S. data and a stronger U.S. dollar."
Asia economic news had an early impact on the yen, with the currency strengthening slightly after Japan'sCabinet
Office on Friday revised the country's gross domestic product for October-December to show annualized growth of 0.2%,
after a preliminary reading indicated a 0.4% contraction.
However, yen weakness resumed after China unexpectedly reported a trade surplus in February, which narrowed from
January but far exceeded economists' expectations for a deficit. Read: China trade surplus narrows, but exports rising
Among the yen cross-rates, the Australian dollar rose to Yen97.74 against the Japanese currency, the highest level for
the pair since August 2008.
Against the greenback, the Australian dollar (AUDUSD) edged down to $1.0244, from $1.0268 in late North American
trading on Thursday.
Other major currencies trading weaker against the dollar included the euro (EURUSD) -- buying $1.3098, down from $
1.3118 late Thursday -- and the British pound (EURUSD), which slipped below the $1.50 mark to trade at $1.4995, compared
to Thursday's $1.5014.
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