* Wait-and-see mood begins to take hold before US jobs data
* Likelihood of March Fed rate hike seen to be mostly priced
* Focus shifts to how many times the Fed can hike rates this
* Dollar inches down vs yen and euro as overnight advance
(Updates prices, adds details and quotes)
By Shinichi Saoshiro
TOKYO, March 8 The dollar was a touch lower on
Wednesday, its modest advance from the previous day bogging down
as investors started to take a wait-and-see attitude ahead of
Friday's U.S. jobs report.
The dollar last week hit a two-month high against a basket
of currencies as Federal Reserve officials talked up the chances
of a rate hike this month, but the greenback is now sitting in a
narrow range with an increase seen largely as a done deal.
"The dollar's upside looks limited as the market has almost
fully priced in a March rate hike, with focus now shifting to
how many times the Fed can tighten policy this year," said
Junichi Ishikawa, senior forex strategist at IG Securities in
"With attention on whether the Fed can conduct three hikes
this year, Friday's jobs data will provide important cues as to
whether an inflation-inducing wage increase is taking place."
The euro rose 0.1 percent to $1.0561 after declining
by about the same amount the previous day.
The dollar index, which hit 102.260 on March 2,
inched down 0.1 percent to 101.740. It gained about 0.15 percent
overnight, when the dollar was buoyed by declines in European
The pound nudged up 0.1 percent to $1.2210
after dipping 0.3 percent overnight. On Tuesday, sterling slid
to a seven-week trough after weak consumer spending data added
to worries that Britain's economy is slowing as it prepares to
trigger its exit from the European Union.
The Swiss franc was little changed at 1.0135 per
dollar after retreating to 1.0170 overnight, its weakest since
The currency had fallen to multi-week lows on Tuesday, hurt
by a rise in the Swiss National Bank's foreign exchange reserves
and statements from SNB Chairman Thomas Jordan that the franc
was "significantly over-valued."
The dollar was down 0.3 percent at 113.650 yen after
rising modestly to 114.160 overnight.
The greenback has had a difficult time staying above the 114
yen threshold amid uncertainty about Washington's potentially
protectionist trade stance. President Donald Trump's
administration is expected to react should the dollar strengthen
excessively against the currencies of major trade partners such
as Germany, Japan and China.
Masafumi Yamamoto, chief forex strategist at Mizuho
Securities in Tokyo, said coming events including the U.S.
Treasury's semi-annual currency report in April are events that
"could push the trade theme to the fore" for President Donald
The Australian dollar rose 0.1 percent to $0.7593.
The Aussie had spiked to $0.7633 the previous day after the
Reserve Bank of Australia kept interest rates on hold and gave
an upbeat assessment of the economy, hinting that it does not
intend to loosen policy this year.
The New Zealand dollar fell to a two-month low of
$0.6962, hurt by a slide in the price of milk.
(Editing by Richard Pullin and Richard Borsuk)