Dollar index edges lower but remains supported in quiet trade

Investing.com –

Investing.com – The dollar edged lower against the other major currencies in quiet on Monday, but losses were expected to remain limited as Friday’s strong U.S. jobs data continued to support the greenback.

The dollar remained supported after the Labor Department reported on Friday that the U.S. economy added 257,000 jobs in January, far more than the 234,000 forecast by economists. December’s figure was revised to 329,000 from a previously reported 252,000.

The unemployment rate ticked up to 5.7% last month from December’s 5.6% hourly earnings and the participation rate both saw increases in January.

The upbeat jobs report was seen as strong enough to indicate that the Fed will remain on track to start raising rates from near zero levels as early as June.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, slipped 0.24% to 94.62.

EUR/USD edged up 0.16% to 1.1334. Sentiment on the euro remained vulnerable after Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said Sunday that he would deliver on pre-election pledges to roll back austerity measures and reject an international bailout extension.

Instead, he said he will seek a new “bridge agreement” to cover Greece’s funding needs until June.

Earlier Monday, official data showed that Germany’s trade surplus widened to €21.8 billion in December from €17.9 billion in November, whose figure was revised from a previously estimated surplus of €17.7 billion.

A separate report showed that investor confidence in the euro zone improved to the highest level in nine months in February as the announcement of the European Central Bank’s bond purchasing program, along with the weaker euro and lower oil prices boosted the outlook for growth.

Research group Sentix said its index of investor confidence improved to 12.4 this month, from a reading of 0.9 in January. Analysts had expected the index to tick up to 3.0.

The pound inched lower against the dollar, with GBP/USD down 0.08% to 1.5231, while USD/CHF shed 0.26% to 0.9239.

Elsewhere, USD/JPY slid 0.35% to trade at 118.70.

The safe-haven yen found support amid fresh concerns over a slowdown in China after official data on Sunday showed that exports fell 3.3% in January on a year-over-year basis, while imports dropped 19.9%, pointing to weakening domestic demand.

The Australian and New Zealand dollars remained higher, with AUD/USD rising 0.37% to 0.7828 and NZD/USD gaining 0.98% to 0.7434.

Data earlier showed that Australia’s newspaper job advertisements dropped 6.7% last month, after a 3.0% increase the previous month.

Internet job ads in Australia rose 1.5% in January, the report also showed, after a 1.8% gain in December.

Meanwhile, the Canadian dollar extended earlier gains, with USD/CAD retreating 0.72% to 1.2436.

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