* U.S. jobs growth slower than expected in August
* Dollar retreats from highs against euro, yen
* Syria concerns boost yen, Swiss franc
By Wanfeng Zhou
NEW YORK, Sept 6 The dollar slumped against
major currencies on Friday after a crucial U.S. job report
disappointed investors had hoped the Federal Reserve would begin
paring back its monetary stimulus this month.
The dollar slumped 1 percent against the yen and eased from
a seven-week high against the euro after the data showed U.S.
job growth was lower than expected in August, while the job
count for the previous two months was revised lower.
Expectations the Fed would announce a tapering of its
monthly bond purchases at its Sept. 17-18 policy meeting have
buoyed in the dollar lately. A reduction in stimulus will lift
U.S. Treasury yields and bolster the appeal of
"The August employment report is weak enough to seriously
throw into doubt the tapering the market widely expected on
Sept. 18th before this latest key release," said Alan Ruskin,
global head of foreign exchange strategy at Deutsche Bank in New
"This is the kind of employment report that throws the cat
among the pigeons, generating maximum uncertainty for markets."
The dollar index, which measures the greenback
against a basket of six major currencies, was at 82.152, down
0.6 percent, moving away from a seven-week peak of 82.671 set on
The jobless rate hit a 4-1/2 year low of 7.3 percent as
Americans gave up the search for work.
Kiran Kowshik, currency strategist at BNP Paribas in New
York said the report is consistent with the firm's view that the
Fed will taper in December. Despite the downward revisions to
previous months, the trend still shows an improving labor
The euro was last up 0.4 percent at $1.3176,
rebounding from a session low of $1.3103, according to Reuters
data, the lowest since July 19.
Against the yen, the dollar was down 1.1 percent at 99.06
yen, having hit a six-week high of 100.22 yen.
The safe-haven yen and Swiss franc gained on concerns about
military action against Syria. The dollar fell 0.8 percent to
U.S. President Barack Obama has so far defied pressure to
abandon plans for air strikes against Syria at a summit on
Friday that left world leaders divided on the conflict, but
united behind a call to spur economic growth.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said Russia will maintain
its long-standing military and economic support for Syrian
President Bashar al-Assad.
Despite gains on Friday, the euro fell for the second
straight week with a 0.3 percent decline in the last five days
adding to the 1.2 percent drop seen last week. The dollar gained
about 1 percent against the yen this week.
Currency speculators increased their bets in favor of the
U.S. dollar to their highest in about a month in the latest
week, according to data from the Commodity Futures Trading
Commission released on Friday.
The value of the dollar's net long position rose to $20.08
billion in the week ended Sept. 3, from $15.82 billion the
previous week. The net long dollar position rose for a second