Dollar heads for third weekly gain as payrolls data looms

Dollar heads for third weekly gain as payrolls data looms© Reuters. U.S. one dollar banknotes are seen in this illustration

By Stanley White

TOKYO (Reuters) – The dollar steadied on Friday ahead of data from the United States that is expected to show an increase in job creation and a lower unemployment rate for March, as the the world’s largest economy maintains a steady recovery from the pandemic.

Sentiment for the dollar has improved in recent weeks, while Treasury yields have spiked, as the Biden administration’s planned stimulus of over $2 trillion and a rapid COVID-19 vaccine roll out spurred economic optimism as well as inflation fears.

While trading is likely to be muted on Friday with many financial markets shut for Easter holidays, analysts say the dollar’s ascent to multi-month highs is likely to continue as more investors bet on economic recovery.

“It’s not just speculators that are betting on the dollar,” said Yukio Ishizuki, foreign exchange strategist at Daiwa Securities. “Asset managers are also cutting their shorts in other currencies to make way for a dollar surge.”

“As long as the economy improves and Treasury yields rise, the dollar will too,” the strategist added.

The dollar last traded at 110.62 yen, not far from its strongest level in a year.

Against the euro, the dollar was quoted at $1.1777, near a five-month high.

The greenback was steady at 0.9417 Swiss franc, after losing 0.2% on Thursday.

The British pound was little changed at $1.3843.

U.S. nonfarm payrolls due later on Friday are forecast to have jumped by 647,000 in March from a 379,000 in February. The unemployment rate is expected to fall to 6.0% from 6.2%.

The , a gauge of its value against six major currencies, stood at 92.862, on course for its third consecutive week of gains.

Major currencies are not expected to move much on Friday with financial markets closed in Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Britain, Europe and the United States, analysts said.

Elsewhere, the Australian dollar edged up to $0.7629, after falling to a three-month low in the previous session.

Across the Tasman Sea, the New Zealand dollar was quoted at $0.7034.

In the cryptocurrency market, bitcoin briefly rose above $60,000 for the first time in two weeks but then pared gains to trade up 1.49% at $59,601.

Rival digital currency ether rose 1.39% to $1,994.

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