Dollar poised for weekly gain as investors await US jobs data

The dollar was steady in early Asian trading on Friday, on track for weekly gains but likely to tread water throughout the day as investors braced for monthly U.S. employment data later in the global session after downbeat jobs figures overnight.

The dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six major rivals, was slightly higher on the day at 95.836, up 0.2 percent for the week.

The dollar was flat on the day against its Japanese counterpart at 113.23 yen and was up 0.8 percent for the week in which it scaled a peak of 113.69, its highest level since mid-May.

Investors awaited the Labor Department’s June nonfarm payrolls report. Economists polled by Reuters expect U.S. employers to have added 179,000 jobs last month, above May’s relatively small gain of 138,000.

“Asian investors don’t want to chase the dollar up today, ahead of the nonfarm payrolls, in case the numbers disappoint,” said Kaneo Ogino, director at foreign exchange research firm Global-info Co in Tokyo.

Ahead of Friday’s jobs data, the ADP National Employment Report showed private-sector payrolls increased by 158,000 jobs last month, coming in below the 230,000 jobs created in May and below economists’ expectations for a rise of 185,000.

Separate figures from the Labor Department showed initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased 4,000 to a seasonally-adjusted 248,000 in the week ended July 1, marking the third straight weekly increase in claims.

The U.S. services sector index, released by the Institute for Supply Management on Thursday, rose to 57.4 in June, compared with a forecast of 56.5.

The employment index, however, fell to 55.8, compared with 57.8 in May, suggesting the labor market could be cooling.

But the dollar was bolstered by higher U.S. Treasury yields which rose even after the uninspiring data, amid concerns that the U.S. Federal Reserve will begin unwinding its bond holdings sometime this year.

The benchmark U.S. 10-year yield touched a nearly eight-week high of 2.391 percent on Thursday. It last stood at 2.374 percent in Asian trading, above its U.S. close of 2.369 percent.

Minutes from the Fed’s June meeting released on Wednesday showed that some policymakers wanted to announce the beginning of the central bank’s reduction of its massive debt portfolio by the end of August, but others wanted to wait until later in the year.

The euro edged down 0.1 percent on the day to $1.1417, and was down 0.1 percent for the week.

European Central Bank policymakers are open to a further step towards reducing their monetary stimulus but are likely to move slowly out of fear of causing market turmoil, minutes of their last meeting showed on Thursday.

Faster economic recovery in the euro zone is giving the ECB room to pare its extraordinary stimulus measures, Bundesbank President Jens Weidmann said on Thursday.

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