Dollar index holds gains after U.S. jobs data

Investing.com –

Investing.com – The dollar held gains against the other major currencies on Wednesday, after relatively positive U.S. private sector employment data and as uncertainty over Greece’s future in the euro zone continued to weigh on market sentiment.

In a report, payroll processing firm ADP said non-farm private employment rose by 213,000 last month, below expectations for an increase of 225,000.

The economy created 253,000 jobs in December, whose figure was upwardly revised from a previously reported 241,000.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was up 0.18% to 93.94.

EUR/USD slipped 0.22% to 1.1454 as markets were jittery amid fresh concerns over Greece, following reports that the European Central Bank is unwilling to back government plans to renegotiate the terms of the country’s €140 billion bailout.

Earlier Wednesday, data showed that the euro zone private sector expanded at the fastest pace in six months in January.

The euro zone composite purchasing managers’ index, which measures activity in the region’s manufacturing and services sectors rose to 52.6 up from a preliminary estimate of 52.2 and a final reading of 51.4 in December.

Output growth expanded in Germany, Italy and Spain, but the downturn in the French economy extended into its ninth month.

A separate report showed that euro zone retail sales rose 2.8% in December from a year earlier, the strongest increase in nearly eight years.

The pound was higher against the dollar, with GBP/USD climbing 0.52% to 1.5246.

Data earlier showed that the Markit/CIPS Services PMI increased to 57.2 last month from a reading of 55.8 in December. Analysts had expected the index to rise to 56.3 in January.

However the report also showed that inflation pressures remained subdued, underlining expectations that the Bank of England will leave interest rates on hold until early 2016.

Elsewhere, USD/CHF added 0.24% to trade at 0.9258, while USD/JPY eased 0.09% to 117.48.

The Australian dollar was steady, with AUD/USD at 0.7788, while NZD/USD gaining 0.31% to 0.7381. Statistics New Zealand earlier reported that the number of employed people rose by 1.2% in the last quarter, beating expectations for a 0.8% gain.

The report also showed that New Zealand’s unemployment rate rose to 5.7% in the fourth quarter of 2014 from 5.4% in the three months to September. Analysts had expected the unemployment rate to tick down to 5.3% in the last quarter.

Separately, Reserve Bank of New Zealand Governor Graeme Wheeler said that interest rates will remain on hold for a prolonged period of time.

Meanwhile, the Canadian dollar lost some ground, with USD/CAD gaining 0.33% to 1.2457.

Later in the day, the Institute of Supply Management was to produce data on non-manufacturing activity.

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