The greenback and Japanese yen extended its recent gain versus most currencies after U.S. non-farm payroll showed unexpected jobs losses last month while the unemployment rate declined.
The U.S. economy lost 20,000 non-farm payroll jobs in January and the unemployment rate unexpectedly declined to five-month low of 9.7%. Analysts had expected a gain in jobs and a slight rise in the jobless rate. However, continued market worries over budget deficit crisis in Greece, Spain & Portugal spooked investors, causing European & U.S. stocks to fall, traders bought usd and the yen in New York morning session.
The single currency remained under selling pressure throughout the day and fell to an almost one-year low against the yen and to the weakest level in eight months versus the the greenback on concern huge budget deficits in Greece and other European nations will hamper the region’s growth. Euro extended Thursday's selloff in Asia but staged a brief bounce to 1.3742 after release of U.S. payrolls data but renewed selling pushed price lower to as low as 1.3585 in NY afternoon before staging a weekend short-covering rebound ahead of G7 finance ministers' meeting in Canada n ended the day at 1.3677.
The Japanese yen staged a recovery in Asia after previous day's sharp fall to a one-month low of 88.55 and despite trading sideways in European & New York sessions, the yen rose to a near one-year high versus the euro, it also posted strong gains against sterling and the 3 commodity currencies.
Earlier, the Swiss franc fell from its highest level in 15 months against the euro in Asian morning, however, traders speculated the Swiss National Bank sold the currency to curb its strength to slow down gains that threaten deflation. Spokesman for the SNB in Zurich, declined to comment on the currency moves. Eur/chf displayed apparent weakness in early Asia, falling to 1.4551. However, huge bids (suspected to be from SNB) emerged from there and price took off like a rocket, reaching 1.4905 in Asian mid-day. Price then took another turn, retreating from there and dropping to 1.4651 in NY afternoon. Despite the pullback, the pair still managed to close the day up over 0.2%.
Cable tumbled in tandem with euro to its lowest level in more than eight months against the dollar as decline in U.K. and European equities spurred demand for the perceived safety of the U.S. currency and yen. Sterling posted its biggest weekly loss since September as the FTSE 100 Index of stocks slid 1.1%, pushing its decline over the past two days to 3.2%. Cable had remained under pressure from start of Asian session and price fell to an eight-months low of 1.5559 in NY afternoon before recovery and closed at 1.5640.
On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average traded below the key 10,000 level during early morning and mid-day trade but managed to pare intra-day losses afterwards and closed the day up 10 points at 10,012.
The Group of Seven nations will hold talks in a 2-day meeting which start on Friday in Iqaluit, Canada and the finance ministers may raise the issue of calling on China to allow its currency to appreciate. Canadian Finance Minister Flaherty was quoted as saying 'rigid Asia FX key part of global imbalances'. He commented G7 will have a frank discussion of FX imbalances, already have had some discussion of financial market instability. He also added Greece is a matter of concern and the G7 will discuss the matter. The G7 meeting will end with an official press meeting at 1:15pm (local tome) instead of the usual release of communique. The forex market is expected to be volatile in Monday's New Zealand and Australian trading.
Data to be released next week include: Japan trade balance, Swiss unemployment rate, retail sales, Germany retail sales, Canada housing starts on Monday, Japan machine tools orders, Germany current account, CPI final, HICP final, trade balance, U.K. trade balance, U.S. wholesale inventories on Tuesday, Japan domestic CGPI, Japan machine orders, U.K. industrial production, manufacturing production, manufacturing production, U.S. trade balance, Fed budget, Canada trade balance on Wednesday, Australia employment change, Swiss CPI, U.S. jobless claims, retail sales, business inventories on Thursday, New Zealand retail sales, Japan consumer confidence, Germany GDP, EU GDP, EU industrial production, U.S. U. Michigan survey on Friday.