Dollar at 3-month high ahead of U.S. jobs test

LONDON (Reuters) – The U.S. dollar hit a fresh three-month high versus other major currencies on Friday, as traders wagered strong U.S. labour data could lift it even further.

FILE PHOTO: A U.S. five dollar note is seen in this illustration photo June 1, 2017. REUTERS/Thomas White/Illustration/File Photo

The dollar index is on track for a further weekly gain – its fourth in five weeks – of nearly 1%. It gained 0.1% on the day, hitting 92.699.

The greenback has strengthened broadly since the U.S. Federal Reserve surprised markets last month by signalling it could tighten policy earlier than expected to curb inflation.

The U.S. jobs report is due at 1230 GMT and is forecast to show a solid rise of 700,000, with traders braced for any surprises.

“The FX markets have certainly become more sensitive to incoming US economic data,” currency analysts at MUFG said in a note.

“That suggests to us that positioning in FX could still be short US dollars which is resulting in this further extension of dollar strength.”

A higher number in the employment report could fuel concerns of tighter Fed policy, analysts said.

“The dollar has started July strongly; a U.S. non-farm payrolls meet or beat today would maintain that momentum,” DBS Bank strategist Philip Wee said in a note to clients.

The dollar hit a fresh three-month high versus the euro ahead of the report, edging up 0.2% on the day to $1.18235. It was broadly flat versus the yen and British pound.

“Many people are now arguing (over) whether the dollar has indeed bottomed, because at some point in 2023 the Fed is suggesting that it could be raising interest rates,” Paul Mackel, global head of FX research at HSBC said in an outlook call.

“Also there’s some nervousness whether the dollar’s going to start to behave in a more pro-cyclical manner, that is, if the data is stronger than expected in the U.S. that the dollar really gets more strength from that.”

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