June 1, 2017 / 1:24 PM / 3 months ago

FOREX-Dollar rallies after strong U.S. private sector jobs gains

* U.S. ADP report shows jobs gain of 253,000

* U.S. weekly jobless claims rise more than expected (Recasts, adds U.S. jobs data, comment, updates prices)

By Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss

NEW YORK, June 1 (Reuters) - The U.S. dollar advanced for the first time in five days against the yen on Thursday after a report showed the U.S. economy created more private sector jobs than expected in May, bolstering expectations for an interest rate hike this month.

The U.S. unit hit session highs against major currencies such as the yen, euro, and Swiss franc following the jobs report, although it had already had a positive tone ahead of the data following losses this week.

The private sector employment report by payrolls processor ADP showed employers added 253,000 jobs last month. Economists surveyed by Reuters had forecast the ADP report would show a gain of 185,000 jobs.

Interest rate futures after the data priced in a 96 percent chance the Federal Reserve would hike rates in June.

Still, some analysts were skeptical about the ADP figures.

"Take this morning's estimate from ADP...with a huge grain of salt," said John Herrmann, rates strategist, at MUFG Securities Americas in New York.

If the ADP's estimate of 253,000 jobs gained on a seasonally adjusted basis were accurate, then on a non-seasonally adjusted basis, the raw gain in private payrolls in May would have to be 996,000 jobs based on MUFG's models.

"Such a 996,000 month-on-month gain would be the third strongest May monthly gain in history."

Hermann said that kind of private jobs gain was unrealistic.

In early morning trading, the dollar rose 0.5 percent to 111.33 yen, while the euro fell 0.2 percent to $1.1213 .

A report showing U.S. weekly jobless claims rising more than expected to 248,000 hardly mattered as investors focused on the strong ADP data.

Editing by Bernadette Baum

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