* Euro hit 2-1/2-year peak vs dollar before U.S. jobs data
* Jobs increases better than forecast
By Michael Connor
NEW YORK, March 7 The dollar rose on Friday,
boosted by an unexpectedly large jump in U.S. jobs growth that
touched off enough buying to lift the greenback from a
The U.S. dollar index, a composite of six currency
pairs which earlier on Friday had hit a bottom of 79.433 last
seen on Oct. 29, reversed course after the release of February's
U.S. employment data and rose 0.17 percent to 79.790.
The dollar was up 0.54 percent against the yen to
103.64 yen and flat against the euro, which earlier had
hit a 2-1/2 year high against the dollar on signs the European
Central Bank's balance sheet was shrinking.
Traders shifted gears when the U.S. Labor Department
reported that America's employers added 175,000 jobs to their
payrolls last month after creating 129,000 new positions in
January. Forecasts had been for gains of about 149,000,
according to a Reuters poll.
The unemployment rate rose to 6.7 percent from a five-year
low of 6.6 percent but the reports from Washington eased widely
held worries that the U.S. economic recovery was stuck in a soft
"It is stronger than expected on several fronts. That the
numbers came even while weather was bad shows the underlying
strength of the economy," said Camilla Sutton, currency
strategist at Scotia Capital in Toronto. "It is good for the
The data portraying job market improvements also meant the
Federal Reserve was unlikely to slow its winding down of its
bond-buying stimulus program now running at $65 billion a month,
according to Sutton and other institutional investors.
In earlier European trade, the euro hit a 2-1/2 year high of
$1.3915, its highest since October 2011. The euro has made broad
based gains after the ECB on Thursday decided to stand pat on
policy and held off from fresh monetary stimulus.
"The ECB was quite disappointing to a lot of euro bears,"
said Yujiro Gato, currency strategist at Nomura, London.
The euro's gains accelerated on Friday after data from the
ECB showed banks were set to repay a big chunk of its emergency
3-year loans next week. That repayment to the ECB shrinks its
balance sheet size at a time when both the Federal Reserve and
the Bank of Japan are expanding theirs by buying bonds.
The repayment of loans leads to a drop in excess liquidity,
a factor which saw money market rates rise and boost the euro's
Overall, investors are turning increasingly bullish about
the euro after President Mario Draghi told a news conference
that economic conditions in the region did not require a shift
in monetary policy.