Dollar Slightly Higher Against Rivals Ahead of U.S. Jobs Data

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By Jacob Maslow

The U.S. dollar was generally stronger against competing major currencies on Friday, as investors look forward to the release of the highly-awaited report on U.S. nonfarm payrolls, which will be made available later in the day.

USD/JPY rose 0.15% to trade higher at 113.85.

Investor support for the safe-haven yen fizzled after oil prices recovered on Friday as worries over an oil glut appear to have faded.

Oil prices went above $34 a barrel on Friday after Nigeria’s oil minister expressed optimism on the likelihood of a summit between OPEC and Non-OPEC producers in Russia over the next few weeks.

EUR/USD eased 0.08% to trade at 1.0947.

In the previous session, the greenback edged lower against rivals after a string of disappointing U.S. data dampened investor confidence over the strength of the American economy.

In its most recent report, the Institute of Supply Management noted that its non-manufacturing purchasing manager’s index for February dropped significantly lower than earlier projections.

Also pushing the dollar lower was the U.S. Department of Labor’s report last week indicating an increase in the number of individuals filing for initial jobless benefits.  A separate report likewise revealed a bleak picture, with U.S. factory orders for the month of January failing to meet growth targets.

Elsewhere, AUD/USD tacked on a mere 0.10% to trade slightly higher at 0.7359 even after data showed that Australia’s retail sales rose 0.3% in January.

The dismal rise for the Australian currency is attributed to disappointing retail sales growth, which was projected to increase 0.4% after being virtually unchanged the previous month.

The U.S. dollar index, which is the standard measure of the greenback’s position against six major currencies, was up 0.11% to trade at 97.72.

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