* ECB bond-buying plan lifts appetite for riskier currencies
* Investors see more U.S. stimulus after U.S. jobs data
NEW YORK, Sept 7 The euro touched a near
four-month peak against the dollar on Friday after a report
showed a smaller-than-expected rise in U.S. nonfarm payrolls in
August, setting the stage for the Federal Reserve to pump
additional money into the sluggish economy.
Investors were sharply focused on the data for hints on
whether the Fed will launch another round of bond-buying, known
as quantitative easing, after its policy meeting next week
and market reaction was immediate.
Nonfarm payrolls increased only 96,000 last month, the Labor
Department said on Friday. The unemployment rate dropped to 8.1
percent from 8.3 percent in July but this was largely due to
Americans giving up the search for work.
The lackluster report keeps the pressure on U.S. President
Barack Obama ahead of the November vote in which the health of
the economy looms large.
"This weak employment report, in jobs, wages, hours worked
and participation is probably the last piece the Fed needs
before launching another round of quantitative easing next
week," said Joseph Trevisani, chief market strategist at
Worldwide Markets in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey. "QE will boost
equities, damage the dollar and do little for the economy, but
what else can an activist Fed do? "
The euro rose as high as $1.2777, its highest since
late May, knocking out reported option barriers at $1.2660 and
$1.2700. It last traded at $1.2773, up 1.1. percent.
The euro was already higher before the U.S. jobs report as
investors cheered the European Central Bank's plan announced on
Thursday to lower borrowing costs for Spain and Italy.
ECB President Mario Draghi, backing up his promise to do
whatever it takes to preserve the euro, unveiled a new and
potentially unlimited bond-buying program aimed at lowering
painfully high borrowing costs for stressed member states.
Yields on Spanish 10-year government bonds fell below 6
percent for the first time since May, while Italian yields also
dropped, lifting the euro across the board. The common currency
rose to its highest against the Swiss franc in eight months.
"Draghi did not deliver any surprises," said Alan Ruskin,
head of G10 FX strategy at Deutsche Bank in New York. "But that
completely misses the point. Draghi delivered."
Market speculation that the Swiss National Bank could raise
its floor against the euro to 1.22 Swiss francs from
1.20 also prompted hedge funds to unwind bets the euro would
The euro rose to a two-month high against the yen
and an eight-month high against the Swiss franc.
The jobs data also gave a huge boost to the yen. The dollar
fell 0.7 percent to 78.32 yen.
Leading up to the report, the yen had ceded ground against
the dollar this week after stronger-than-expected data on U.S.
private-sector employment triggered a rise in Treasury yields.
But that sentiment was obliterated as New York trading
"We believe this weak print (in the jobs report) continues
to reflect structural weaknesses in the U.S. economy that the
Federal Reserve will address next week at their September 13
FOMC meeting," said Christopher Vecchio, Currency Analyst at
The Australian dollar rose 0.8 percent to $1.0364,
holding firm adding to Thursday's gains.
But a flood of Chinese data on Sunday could provide a
challenging backdrop for the Australian dollar, which has
retreated over the past month on worries about a slowdown in
China, Australia's single biggest export market.