* Greenback steady on hopes of improving labor market
* Weak Chinese trade data knock Australian dollar
* Canadian dollar rebounds from earlier losses
* Ukraine worries contained, may flare up on troop moves
By Richard Leong
NEW YORK, March 10 The U.S. dollar was little
changed against major currencies on Monday, supported by hopes
U.S. job growth would pick up in the wake of last week's mildly
encouraging report on hiring and as tension over Ukraine
Meanwhile, the Australian dollar declined against the
greenback in the wake of a plunge in exports from China, stoking
worries of further weakness in the world's second biggest
economy cutting into global growth.
"Despite some horrendous weather, the U.S. economy was
reasonably resolute in February. We might get a strong (payroll)
number in March," said Alan Ruskin, global head of G10 currency
strategy at Deutsche Bank in New York. "This is a more
constructive view on the U.S. economy and the dollar."
The dollar index was up 0.06 percent at 79.767,
holding above four-month lows set prior to Friday's U.S. jobs
data that showed a greater-than-forecast 175,000 workers found
jobs in February.
Speculators reduced their dollar holdings earlier last week
before the employment data. They had trimmed their bullish bets
on the dollar to their lowest in four months, according to data
from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission released on
The U.S. payrolls report countered a drop-off in
expectations of more policy easing from the European Central
Bank to keep the yen, dollar and euro in tight ranges. Another
bearish batch of figures from Japan had limited impact.
Sterling was the other major mover, suffering from the shift
in money market rates in the common currency's favour after the
ECB meeting. It slid to 83.35 pence, its weakest in a month
against the euro.
The Australian dollar had been on the way back up towards
the end of last week, boosted by signs of improvement in its own
economy. But like fellow commodity producer Canada, it depends
heavily on China extending a decade of robust expansion.
More doubts are emerging on that front.
Latest numbers showed Chinese exports fell 18 percent
year-on-year in February, and authorities in Beijing continued a
campaign to halt any further appreciation of the yuan by setting
its daily guidance for the currency at the highest since
The Aussie traded 0.6 percent weaker at $0.9017,
while the loonie bounced back at C$1.1101 after hitting a
low of C$1.1073 in Asian trading.
The euro was holding within sight of Friday's 2-1/2-year
high of $1.3915 reached after last week's ECB meeting,
which quashed hopes for now of more action to stimulate growth.
The single currency last traded $1.3870, down 0.04 percent
from late on Friday, while it slipped 0.1 percent against the
Japanese yen at 143.10 yen.
Dealers were divided on whether the euro could to break
above $1.40 though some noted the lack of reaction to concerns
over its strength expressed by French central banker Christian
"The euro has been fairly resilient," said Marc Chandler,
chief global currency strategist at Brown Brothers Harriman &
Co. in New York.
While traders focused on the U.S. jobs data and ECB's policy
path, they were mindful of the tense situation in Ukraine as
Russian forces tightened their grip on Crimea.
"The situation in Ukraine is back on people's minds and one
could already see the pressure on emerging markets on Friday
after (strong) U.S. non-farm payrolls," said Alvin Tann,
strategist with French bank Societe Generale in London.
The Russian rouble was steady against the dollar at
36.3725 roubles. The dollar hit a record peak of 36.6750 roubles
a week ago on fears of war in Ukraine's Crimean peninsula after
Russia's invasion the region.
Analysts still expect diplomacy between the West and Russia
to address the situation.
Among other emerging market currencies, the Mexican peso
fell 0.3 percent against the dollar at 13.2220 pesos
after hitting its strongest level in seven weeks against the
greenback on Friday.