Markets News

FOREX-Dollar climbs to two-week peak, shrugs off weak U.S. payrolls

    * U.S payrolls weaker than expected in December
    * Dollar index on track for best weekly gain in two months
    * Yen, Swiss franc fall U.S.-Iran tensions ease

 (Recasts, adds U.S. non-farm payrolls data, new analyst comment, updates prices, changes byline,
dateline; previous LONDON)
    By Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss
    NEW YORK, Jan 10 (Reuters) - The U.S. dollar rose two-week highs on Friday, on track for its biggest
weekly gain in two months, helped by easing geopolitical tension between the United States and Iran, with
investors shrugging off a weaker-than-expected U.S. non-farm payrolls report for December.
    The soft U.S. payrolls number, which followed a batch of strong economic figures, was unlikely to sway
the Federal Reserve from its current neutral stance.
    The dollar did pare gains after the jobs data, but was overall steady on the day.
    U.S. data showed that nonfarm payrolls increased by 145,000 jobs last month, lower than the market
forecasts of 164,000. Data for October and November was revised to show 14,000 fewer jobs added than
previously reported. The economy created 2.1 million jobs in 2019, down from 2.7 million in 2018.

    More importantly, average hourly earnings rose three cents, or just 0.1%, after increasing 0.3% in
November. Markets were expecting a 0.3% rise.
    "This doesn't change Fed policy though. The Fed is quite comfortable being on the sidelines for now,"
said Bipan Rai, North American head of FX strategy, at CIBC Capital Markets in Toronto.
    "What it does mean is that the U.S. dollar would be on the defensive. Certainly, being long dollar has
been a popular position for some time so investors would be looking to clear out those positions." 
    Against a basket of currencies, the dollar gained 0.1% on Friday to 97.50, taking its
cumulative gains this week to 0.7%, on track for its biggest weekly rise since early November. During the
session, the dollar index hit a two-week high of 97.584.
    The dollar was also modestly higher versus the safe-haven yen at 109.58 yen after touching a
four-week peak during the session. 
    The greenback also rose 0.2% versus the Swiss franc at 0.9748.
    The yen's and Swiss franc's losses reflected fading worries about an imminent U.S-Iran conflict.
    "The galvanising force for the dollar rally this week was the fizzling of tensions in the Middle East
with the recent U.S. data also giving investors some further room for optimism," said Ricardo Evangelista,
a senior analyst at ActivTrades.
    The euro was also down 0.1% against the dollar at $1.1100.
    Currency bid prices at 10:01AM (1501 GMT)
 Description      RIC         Last           U.S. Close  Pct Change     YTD Pct     High Bid    Low Bid
                                              Previous                   Change                 
 Euro/Dollar      EUR=        $1.1100        $1.1105     -0.05%         -0.99%      +1.1113     +1.1086
 Dollar/Yen       JPY=        109.5800       109.5100    +0.06%         +0.66%      +109.6900   +109.4700
 Euro/Yen         EURJPY=     121.64         121.62      +0.02%         -0.25%      +121.7700   +121.5300
 Dollar/Swiss     CHF=        0.9744         0.9731      +0.13%         +0.68%      +0.9762     +0.9727
 Sterling/Dollar  GBP=        1.3058         1.3065      -0.05%         -1.52%      +1.3095     +1.3049
 Dollar/Canadian  CAD=        1.3045         1.3054      -0.07%         +0.45%      +1.3075     +1.3029
 Australian/Doll  AUD=        0.6886         0.6857      +0.42%         -1.92%      +0.6892     +0.6851
 Euro/Swiss       EURCHF=     1.0816         1.0807      +0.08%         -0.33%      +1.0829     +1.0805
 Euro/Sterling    EURGBP=     0.8499         0.8499      +0.00%         +0.53%      +0.8506     +0.8481
 NZ               NZD=        0.6620         0.6614      +0.09%         -1.72%      +0.6632     +0.6603
 Dollar/Norway    NOK=        8.9000         8.8803      +0.22%         +1.39%      +8.9125     +8.8729
 Euro/Norway      EURNOK=     9.8790         9.8652      +0.14%         +0.42%      +9.8865     +9.8527
 Dollar/Sweden    SEK=        9.5077         9.4886      +0.12%         +1.71%      +9.5216     +9.4801
 Euro/Sweden      EURSEK=     10.5544        10.5417     +0.12%         +0.81%      +10.5574    +10.5316
 (Reporting by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss; Additional reporting by Saikat Chatterjee in London; Editing by
David Gregorio)