NEW YORK: The dollar rose on Friday in thin trading, on pace for its third weekly gain, after data showed the world’s largest economy created more jobs than expected in March, suggesting it is on a steady path to recovery from the pandemic.
Financial markets were closed in Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Britain, Europe and the US in observance of the Good Friday holiday. Friday’s data showed US nonfarm payrolls surged 916,000 jobs last month, the largest gain since last August.
Data for February was revised higher to show 468,000 jobs created instead of the previously reported 379,000. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast payrolls increasing by 647,000 jobs in March.
“The important thing is that the employment trend is pointing in the right direction,” said JJ Kinahan, chief market strategist at TD Ameritrade in Chicago. “We’re not where we were pre-March last year. We’re still down 5.5 percent from our peak, but we continue to make great progress,” he added.
Sentiment for the dollar has improved in recent weeks, while Treasury yields have spiked, as the Biden administration’s planned stimulus of over $2 trillion and a rapid COVID-19 vaccine rollout spurred economic optimism as well as inflation fears.
US benchmark 10-year Treasury yields were last at 1.705 percent, up nearly 3 basis points from the previous session. The dollar index was up 0.1 percent at 92.959, posting gains in five of the last six weeks. It is headed for its third straight weekly rise.
The dollar’s ascent to multi-month highs is likely to continue as more investors bet on economic recovery. The dollar was up slightly versus the yen at 110.68 yen, not far from its strongest level in a year at just under 111 yen. Against the euro, the dollar was quoted at $1.1777, near a five-month high. The greenback was little changed against the Swiss currency at $0.94170 Swiss franc, after losing 0.2 percent on Thursday.
Elsewhere, the Australian dollar slipped 0.2 percent to $0.7612. Across the Tasman Sea, the New Zealand dollar was flat at $0.7025. In the cryptocurrency market, bitcoin briefly rose above $60,000 for the first time in two weeks but then pared gains to trade up 0.7 percent at $59,130.