Dollar firms, but gains seen limited ahead of US jobs report

Reuters Tokyo | Updated on January 22, 2018 Published on October 01, 2015


The dollar firmed slightly on Thursday on relief a set of China manufacturing surveys were just a smidgen better than some had expected, but the gains were limited as caution prevailed ahead of key US jobs data on Friday.

The euro remained under pressure after a downbeat eurozone inflation report, while the yen firmed slightly in early Asian trade after the Bank of Japan’s tankan corporate sentiment survey contained both positive and worrying signs.

“The China readings were almost flat, not really an improvement, but a few people might have used the figures as an excuse to increase dollar-long positions with China closed today,’’ said Masashi Murata, currency strategist for Brown Brothers Harriman in Tokyo.

China began its one-week string of National Day holidays on Thursday.

“The big picture is still that the outlook for the global economy remains very subdued, mainly due to weak Chinese growth,’’ Murata said.

The final Caixin/Markit China Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) edged down to 47.2 in September, slightly up from a preliminary reading of 47.0, but still marking its lowest reading since March 2009 and a deterioration from August’s 47.3.

China’s official PMI released separately inched up to 49.8 in September from the previous month’s reading of 49.7, though it still showed contraction for the second straight month.

The dollar was buying 120.07 yen, up about 0.2 per cent from late US trading, erasing early slight losses.

The yen largely shrugged off mixed signals from the BOJ’s closely watched tankan survey showing that confidence at big Japanese manufacturers worsened, leading some to bet that the central bank could take further stimulus steps. But service-sector sentiment improved for the fourth straight quarter to hit the highest level in more than two decades.

Market attention was riveted on the China surveys after the US Federal Reserve opted to refrain from raising interest rates for the first time since 2006 at its meeting last month, citing worries about the global economy, particularly China.

But some investors believe that an improving US employment situation could prompt the central bank to hike as early as this month.

Economists expect Friday’s US non-farm payrolls report to show that employers added 203,000 jobs in September, according to a Reuters poll.

The latest ADP data released overnight supported these expectations, showing U.S. private-sector employers added 200,000 jobs.

Against the dollar, the euro shed about 0.1 per cent to $1.1167, and also slipped about 0.1 per cent to 134.06 yen.

Eurozone prices fell 0.1 per cent on an annual basis in September, falling short of expectations and well below the European Central Bank’s target of just under 2 percent. That raised expectations that the ECB might decided to take further easing measures.

Published on October 01, 2015
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