Imminent Release of U.S. Jobs Data Pushes Dollar Lower

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By Brendel Balaga

The dollar weakened against rival currencies on Friday, as investors decided to wait out the publication of the highly-anticipated U.S. employment report, which is due later in the day.

USD/JPY fell 0.33% to trade lower at 106.91.

Investors were anticipating the the release of U.S. nonfarm payrolls report due Friday for further clues on the strength of the American job market following disappointing figures this week.

Payroll processing company ADP reported on Wednesday that non-farm private employment went up by a mere 156,000 last month, missing projections of a 196,000 rise.

On Thursday, the Labor department said the number of persons who applied for initial jobless benefits in the week ending April 29 went up by 17,000, rising to 274,000 from the previous week’s 257,000.

Analysts were expecting jobless claims for the previous week to go up by only 3,000 to 260,000.

Meanwhile, the yen was also under pressure after Shinzo Abe, Japan’s Prime Minister, said on Thursday that the government is prepared to act against excessive, speculative increases of the yen.

EUR/USD tacked on 0.11% to trade slightly higher at 1.1417.

The dollar held its ground against the pound and the Swiss franc, with GBP/USD trading at 1.4494 and with USD/CHF trading at 0.9674.

The Australian and New Zealand dollars both slipped, with AUD/USD shedding 1.23% to trade lower at 0.7374 and with NZD/USD falling 0.58% to trade at 0.6843.

Elsewhere, USD/CAD was steady, maintaining a three-week high of 1.2844.

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback’s relative standing against a group of six major currencies, was lower, giving up 0.11% at 93.63.

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