Sun, Apr 08, 2018 - Page 14 News List

US dollar inches up amid lackluster monthly jobs data

Reuters, LONDON

The US dollar posted tiny gains for the week after monthly US payrolls data fell short of expectations.

An about 0.14 percent gain in the US dollar index this week trimmed its year-to-date losses against a basket of currencies to about 2 percent so far this year, after a decline of more than 10 percent last year.

However, some investors say it is still trading at the upper end of its trading ranges.

The escalating trade conflict between the US and China has not affected currency markets. Most pairs remain in ranges and a gauge of currency market volatility was near this year’s lows.

“Despite the recent weakness of the dollar, on a historical basis, the greenback is trading at the upper end of historical ranges and unless we see a marked shift in the [US Federal Reserve’s] policy tone or a sustained upward surprise in economic data, we expect any dollar gains to be limited,” said John Goldie, a foreign-exchange dealer at Argentex LLP based in London.

In the latest salvo, Beijing warned it would fight back “at any cost” if the US stuck to its protectionist stance, after US President Donald Trump threatened to impose an extra US$100 billion in tariffs.

“Any escalation in the trade war rhetoric would be more negative for China than the US, given the former’s relative dependency on trade, but for now, the markets are focused on the payrolls data,” said Richard Falkenhall, a senior currency strategist at SEB in Stockholm.

The US dollar edged 0.1 percent higher against a basket of currencies at 90.108 on Friday.

In Taipei, the New Taiwan dollar slipped against the greenback in the two-day week shortened by the Tomb Sweeping Day holiday. The NT dollar on Tuesday fell NT$0.006 to close at NT$29.148, down 0.01 percent from Friday last week’s NT$29.120.

Chinese markets were also shut for the holiday.

The offshore yuan was trading about 0.4 percent weaker against the US dollar.

Monthly job creation in the US last month tumbled to its lowest level since September last year, the government reported on Friday, a decline attributed in large part to harsh weather.

US employers last month added only 103,000 net new positions, the Department of Labor said in the closely watched report.

The gain was less than a third of the surge seen in February and far lower than the 175,000 analysts expected

The euro held steady at US$1.2288, near a one-month low of US$1.22185 set on Thursday. The common currency is down 0.3 percent against the greenback from last week’s US$1.232.

Sterling on Friday rose 0.6 percent against the US dollar to US$1.4107, its highest level since March 28, before falling back to US$1.4090. For the week, the pound rose 0.5 percent from last week’s US$1.402.

Additional reporting by AFP and CNA, with staff writer

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