Dollar Rises on Strong Jobs Data


The dollar rose against the yen on Friday after stronger-than-expected jobs data stoked expectations the U.S. Federal Reserve may start reducing bond buying sooner than expected.

U.S. employers added 203,000 new jobs in November, exceeding expectations, and the jobless rate fell to a five-year low of 7.0 percent, the Labor Department said.

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"A strong overall report, strong details as well. It keeps the December tapering risk alive from the Federal Reserve," said Richard Franulovich, senior currency strategist at Westpac in New York.

The dollar jumped 0.8 percent to 102.58 yen, having hit a session peak of 102.89 yen, according to Reuters data, and edging back towards a six-month high of 103.37 yen set earlier in the week.

A reduction in the U.S. central bank's bond-buying activity would lift U.S. bond yields, boosting the currency.

But some analysts doubted the report is strong enough to push the Fed to move in December. Fed policymakers meet on Dec. 17-18.

"We feel this is consistent with material improvement as regards unemployment, however, we've seen no improvement yet in participation," said Michael Woolfolk, senior currency strategist at BNY Mellon in New York.

"Nonfarm payrolls number is probably not enough to persuade the Fed to taper in December. We still think the earliest they move is March."

The dollar's gains versus the euro were short-lived, as the single currency was boosted by rising short-term interest rates in the euro zone, a day after the European Central Bank dampened hopes for an imminent easing move.

The euro hit a session low of $1.3627 after the U.S. jobs data, before rebounding to hit a five-week high of $1.3693. It was last at $1.3685, up 0.1 percent on the day.

ECB chief Mario Draghi, after a policy meeting on Thursday, said the bank was ready to take fresh policy action to support a fragile recovery, but he was light on details, including whether the bank would cut bank deposit rates into negative territory.

Draghi also noted that liquidity in the banking system had improved since the last long-term cash injection and attached conditions for any repeat.

"Yesterday's meeting could leave those betting on more indications of aggressive ECB easing disappointed," said Valentin Marinov, currency strategist at Citigroup in London. "That could keep the euro supported against the dollar, yen and sterling."

The dollar index, which tracks the greenback versus a basket of six currencies, rose 0.1 percent to 80.292.