Sun, Mar 12, 2017 - Page 14 News List

US dollar retreats to three-week low on weak wage figures

Reuters, NEW YORK

The US dollar on Friday fell after a report showed US wages last month rose less than expected and tempered expectations for a spate of interest rate increases.

The US dollar index, which tracks the greenback against six major world currencies, fell to its lowest since Feb. 28. The index fell 0.34 percent this week, its first weekly loss in five weeks.

The euro on Friday rose more than 1.1 percent against the US dollar to a high of US$1.0698, its highest since Feb. 9. It was the euro’s largest one-day gain since June 3, last year. That helped the common currency to its second consecutive weekly gain against the US dollar, rising 0.7 percent for the week.

The US dollar also fell to its lowest in nearly a week against the Swiss franc, dipping to SF1.0083.

In Taipei, the New Taiwan dollar retreated against the greenback, falling NT$0.016 to close at NT$31.036, little changed from last week’s US$31.020, amid a continuing outflow of funds, dealers said.

The greenback also managed to hang onto its gains against the yen. After touching a seven-week-high of ¥115.50 in European trading, the US dollar was last up 0.25 percent at ¥115.19.

The US Labor Department’s non-farm payrolls report showed that employers last month added 235,000 jobs, beating expectations for 190,000.

However, average hourly earnings missed expectations, rising by only 0.2 percent, leading markets to price in a slower pace of rate hikes, analysts said.

“It’s a very solid report; however, the [US] dollar has failed to appreciate given how market expectations were sky-high for a robust report,” said Joe Manimbo, senior market analyst at Western Union Business Solutions in Washington.

“Once again the wage number continues to overshadow,” he added, “and with wages rising in lackluster fashion, that has tempered expectations for the [US Federal Reserve] to raise rates at a faster pace this year.”

The data also fell short of Wednesday’s ADP report, which showed private-sector employers last month added 298,000 jobs.

Fed fund futures prices showed investors see a 93 percent chance of an increase in US overnight interest rates this month, according to CME Group’s FedWatch tool. The number was close to 90 percent before the data was released.

A rate hike this month is a done deal, but “the notion of more than three rate hikes seems a bit premature,” Manimbo said.

Additional reporting by CNA

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