Dollar holds steady ahead of US nonfarm payrolls

Moves in the currency markets on Friday were subdued as investors await the all-important US nonfarm payrolls data due later today.

Economists expect the US economy to have added 200,000 jobs in April, a drop of 15,000 from March, and for the unemployment rate to fall a tenth of a percentage point to 4.9 per cent.

Data on Wednesday had shown the US private sector added fewer jobs in April than expected, which has made some investors a bit wary of what might show up today in the broader labour market report.

The US dollar remained firm in the Asian session this morning, trading above the key 107 yen level.

The dollar also firmed against the euro, which had risen to an eight-month peak of $1.1616 on Tuesday, traded around $1.1405 after losing 0.8 percent overnight. The euro’s weakness was attributed to positioning ahead of today’s risk event – the US jobs data.

AUDUSD fell below the key $0.74, as the aussie came under pressure since the policy meeting minutes of the Reserve Bank of Australia. The RBA cut its inflation forecasts for this year to between 1 and 2 per cent, from 2 per cent previously.

Earlier this week the RBA cut interest rates to a record low 1.75 per cent, leading the AUD to tumble the most since 2011.

Oil halted the strong rally from Thursday when prices rose on concerns about supply disruptions due to wildfires in Canada’s oil sands hub. Prices turned lower this morning, with Brent crude, the international benchmark, down 0.1 per cent at $44.96 a barrel, and West Texas Intermediate, the US benchmark, down a quarter of a percentage point at $44.21.

Gold, which is typically sensitive to US interest rate expectations, was sitting 0.1 per cent firmer on Friday at $1,279.57.

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