Dollar holds firm in Asia

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Tokyo -

The dollar held firm against the yen and euro in Asia on Friday after it rallied on a strong US jobs report that pointed to a stronger economy and a possible early interest rate hike.

In Tokyo midday trading, the greenback fetched 102.13 yen, a touch down from 102.20 yen in New York but still well up from 101.88 yen in Tokyo earlier on Thursday.

The euro bought $1.3608 and 138.98 yen, against $1.3609 and 139.09 yen in US trade, after the European Central Bank (ECB) held interest rates unchanged at its policy meeting on Thursday.

On Thursday, the US Labour Department said the world's number one economy added 288 000 jobs last month, while the unemployment rate fell to 6.1 percent from 6.3 percent in May.

The closely watched figures were well above expectations of 215 000 and boosted hopes a recovery is well on track.

Analysts also said the strong data could see the Federal Reserve increase interest rates sooner than later.

The US central bank has said it wants to make sure economic growth is sound and the jobs market is strong enough before it puts borrowing rates up, previously pointing to mid-2015 at the earliest.

Higher rates tend to attract dollar buying from investors looking for richer returns.

“Overall, the labour market is meeting the Fed's targets early and continues to show a sustained, and now robust, improvement,” National Australia Bank said.

In Europe, ECB policymakers held interest rates unchanged, as expected, a month after taking unprecedented measures to ward off deflation in the eurozone.

But bank chief Mario Draghi insisted it was still on high alert and would take further action again if necessary. - Sapa-AFP


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