The US dollar rose on Friday in thin trading, posting its third straight weekly gain, after data showed that the world’s largest economy created more jobs than expected last month, suggesting that it is on a steady path to recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Financial markets were closed in Australia, Europe, Hong Kong, Singapore and the UK in observance of the Good Friday holiday. Wall Street was also closed, while the US bond and currency markets were open, because Good Friday is not a US government holiday.
Friday’s data showed that US nonfarm payrolls surged by 916,000 last month, the largest gain since August last year.
Data for February was revised higher to show 468,000 jobs created instead of the previously reported 379,000.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast payrolls increasing by 647,000 jobs last month.
“The overall strength of the labor market is likely to prove dollar-positive,” said Joe Manimbo, senior market analyst at Western Union Business Solutions in Washington.
“The hiring explosion showed the economy producing some of the ‘substantial further progress’ the Federal Reserves wants to see before it pivots away from its low rate policies,” Manimbo said.
However, US Treasury yields might take exception given tepid wage growth, which is consistent with inflation remaining subdued, he added.
Sentiment for the US dollar has improved in the past few weeks, while Treasury yields have spiked, as US President Joe Biden’s administration’s planned stimulus of more than US$2 trillion and a rapid COVID-19 vaccine rollout spurred economic optimism as well as inflation fears.
US benchmark 10-year Treasury yields were last at 1.717 percent, up nearly 4 basis points from the previous session.
In Taipei on Thursday, the New Taiwan dollar fell against the greenback, losing NT$0.002 to close at NT$28.533, but up 0.24 percent for the week.
Currency markets were closed in Taiwan on Friday for the Tomb Sweeping Day long weekend.
The US dollar index on Friday inched up less that 0.1 percent to 93.01, rising 0.3 percent weekly and posting gains in five of the past six weeks.
The US dollar’s ascent to multimonth highs is likely to continue as more investors bet on economic recovery in the US.
The US dollar was up 0.1 percent versus the yen at ￥110.67, not far from its strongest level in a year at just under ￥111.
Meanwhile, the euro was down 0.2 percent against the US dollar at US$1.1756.
In the cryptocurrency market, ethereum, the second-largest cryptocurrency in terms of market capitalization, hit a record high of US$2,081.83 and was last up 5 percent at US$2,065.45.
Additional reporting by CNA, with staff writer
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