FOREX-Dollar basks in payrolls afterglow, Greece back in hot seat

* Dollar index touches fresh 11-year high

* Strong payrolls raise bets of earlier Fed hike

* Eurogroup meeting to discuss Greece up next

By Ian Chua

SYDNEY, March 9 (Reuters) – The dollar drifted to a fresh 11-year high against a basket of major currencies early on Monday, remaining in favour as markets wagered the Federal Reserve might lift interest rates sooner rather than later.

Surprisingly strong U.S. jobs data on Friday had put the risk of a mid-year Fed hike squarely on the table, sending Treasury yields sharply higher. That in turn re-energised the greenback’s rally.

The euro slid to $ 1.0822 early in Asia, surpassing Friday’s trough of $ 1.0839 to reach lows not seen since September 2003. It was last at $ 1.0843.

“The next level to watch is 1.0765 – the Sept 2003 low. Our eventual target is 1.05,” analysts at RBC Capital Markets wrote in a note to clients.

Against the yen, the dollar fetched 120.70, not far from Friday’s three-month high of 121.29. It was back near a 7-1/2 year peak of 121.86 set in December.

The greenback also firmed against sterling and its Canadian peer, lifting the dollar index as far as 97.828, highs last seen in September 2003.

Other currencies like the Australian dollar also lost ground against the U.S. dollar. The Aussie flirted with 77 U.S. cents , edging ever closer to a six-year low of $ 0.7627 plumbed early last month.

The U.S. data appeared to have overshadowed others including those out of China on Sunday that showed a surge in exports in the first two months of 2015.

The focus on Monday is likely to on the outcome of a meeting of euro zone finance ministers, who are due to discuss a recent letter of pledged reforms sent by Greece.

Athens and its euro zone partners struck a deal last month to extend its bailout programme by four months, but the cash-strapped country has until April to successfully conclude a bailout review before it receives any further aid.

ECB executive board member Benoit Coeure told a Cypriot newspaper on Sunday the ECB was looking forward to working with Greece to complete a review of its bailout, but time is running short.

(Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

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