Dollar mixed to lower on uninspiring March jobs report
San Francisco (Apr 5) A lukewarm March jobs report weakened the dollar on Friday by clouding expectations as to how long the Federal Reserve will keep monetary stimulus programs in place.
In U.S. trading on Thursday, EUR/USD was down 0.12% at 1.3704. In the U.S. earlier, the Department of Labor reported that the U.S. economy added 192,000 jobs in March, missing expectations for a 200,000 increase. February's figure was revised up to 197,000 from 175,000, while January's figure rose to 144,000 from 129,000. The private sector added 192,000 jobs last month, below expectations for a 195,000 rise, while February's figure was revised up to 188,000 jobs added from a previously estimated 162,000 increase. The report also showed that the U.S. unemployment rate remained unchanged at 6.7% last month compared to expectations for a 6.6% reading. The numbers sent investors rethinking when the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates once it winds down monthly asset purchases.
While lackluster, the numbers were not disappointing enough to sway investors' focus from the European Central Bank. On Thursday, the ECB left its benchmark interest rate unchanged at a record-low 0.25%, held its marginal lending rate at 0.75% and left its deposit facility rate unchanged at zero. ECB President Mario Draghi said monetary authorities did not exclude further monetary policy easing and reiterated the ECB's forward guidance that interest rates will remain at their current levels, or lower, for an extended period. He added the ECB's governing council was "unanimous" in its commitment to using all unconventional instruments within its mandate to ward off deflationary pressures and added that the bank discussed the possibility of negative deposit rates.
Elsewhere on Friday, official data revealed that German factory orders rose 0.6% in February, beating expectations for a 0.1% gain. Factory orders in January were revised down to a 0.1% increase from a previously estimated 1.2% rise.
The dollar was down against the yen, with USD/JPY down 0.65% at 103.24, and up against the Swiss franc, with USD/CHF up 0.05% at 0.8916. The greenback was up against the pound, with GBP/USD down 0.12% at 1.6579. The dollar was down against its cousins in Canada, Australia and New Zealand, with USD/CAD down 0.47% at 1.0984, AUD/USD up 0.58% at 0.9286 and NZD/USD up 0.51% at 0.8590. In Canada, official data showed that the economy added 42,900 jobs last month, exceeding expectations for a 21,500 rise, after a 7,000 decline in February. Canada's unemployment rate declined to 6.9% in March, from 7% in February. Analysts had expected the unemployment rate to remain unchanged last month. The US dollar index, which tracks the performance of the greenback versus a basket of six other major currencies, was down 0.06% at 80.56.