Dollar drives mostly higher on strong U.S. jobs report
The dollar drives mostly higher against some of other major currencies on Friday, after report confirmed that the U.S. economy added many more jobs than predicted last month and that unemployment fell to the lowest level since July 2008.
The U.S. Department of Labor said the market added 295,000 jobs last month, crossing expectations for an increase of 240,000. January’s figure was improved to a 239,000 gain from a previously projected 257,000 increase.
The U.S. unemployment rate dropped to a 6.5 year low of 5.5% in February from 5.7% the prior month, compared to outlooks for a downtick to 5.6%.
U.S. standard hourly earnings increased 0.1% in February, the data added, failing expectations for a 0.2% gain, after rising 0.5% in January.
Another report confirmed that the U.S. trade deficit pointed to $41.80 billion in January from $45.60 billion in December, whose figure was corrected from a previously expected deficit of $46.60 billion. Analysts had estimated the trade deficit to narrow to $41.70 billion in January.
The U.S. dollar index, that measures the greenback’s strength against other six major currencies, was up 1.02% to 97.40.
The euro fell to fresh 11-1/2 year lows, with EUR/USD down 1.25% to 1.0891.
The euro continued under pressure after European Central Bank President Mario Draghi showed on Thursday that the ECB will begin buying euro zone government bonds on March 9 following its new quantitative easing program.
The combined asset buys will amount to €60 billion per month and are estimated to run until September 2016, or until the ECB notices that inflation is on a “continued path” to its aim of close to, but below, 2% in the medium term.
The dollar was higher against the yen and the Swiss franc, with USD/JPY up 0.52% at 120.75 and with USD/CHF increasing 0.52% to 0.9799.
In Switzerland, official data previously showed that consumer prices dropped 0.3% on last month, compared to expectations for a 0.1% downtick, after a 0.4% decline in January.
Elsewhere, sterling fell to one-month lows, with GBP/USD shedding 0.63% to 1.5145.
The Australian, Canadian and New Zealand dollars turned steady to lower, with AUD/USD small changed at 0.7776 and NZD/USD moving back 0.90% to 0.7418, while USD/CAD higher 0.64% to trade at 1.2566.
Statistics Canada reported that the trade deficit extended to C$2.45 billion in January from C$1.22 billion in December, whose figure was corrected from a past estimated deficit of C$0.65 billion. Analysts had estimated the trade balance to swing into a remaining of C$0.30 billion in January.
Reports also confirmed that building permits in Canada fell by 12.9% in January after a downwardly corrected 6.1% rise the previous month. Analysts had estimated building permits to boost by 5.5% in January.