Markets were relatively quiet in Asian session trading on Friday as investors look ahead to the much anticipated US non-farm payrolls report due later in the day. This is one of the most important economic data that is closely watched by the markets and by Federal Reserve policy makers. A strong NFP number will increase the prospects of interest rates being lifted again this year.
Economists forecast the US economy to have added 195,000 jobs in February, up from 151,000 the previous month, and for the unemployment rate to hold steady at 4.9 per cent.
However, some data out of the US yesterday dampened expectations the Fed would hike interest rates soon. The ISM non-manufacturing PMI showed a soft employment component and the initial jobless claims number jumped last week. As a result, this hurt the US dollar.
The dollar traded around 113.62 yen today after being knocked off the previous day’s high of 114.28 yen.
The euro was nearly flat at $1.0939 after gaining 0.8 percent against the dollar yesterday. Earlier this week the euro touched a one-month trough of $1.0825.
The Australian dollar traded near a three-month high of $0.7374. The aussie is being supported recently by a rebound in prices of commodities such as crude oil and iron ore and since the AUD is a commodity-linked currency, the lower prices are helping.
The Canadian dollar, an oil-linked currency, was also supported by the recent rise in oil prices and traded near a three-month high. USD/CAD touched $1.3415 in Asia today.
The pound was helped by the broad US dollar weakness today, helping it move off multi-year lows reached due to Brexit concerns recently at $1.3836 on Monday. GBP/USD traded near a 10-day peak of $1.4194 today.