* Focus on US jobs data; 145,000 job growth expected
* Euro steadies after Thursday's drop
* ECB Draghi's comments on deposit rates dents euro
By Masayuki Kitano
SINGAPORE, May 3 The dollar held steady versus
the yen on Friday, with the focus on whether U.S. jobs data
later in the day will add to concerns about the economic outlook
and bolster bets for the Federal Reserve to stick with its
Economists polled by Reuters are looking for job growth of
145,000 last month, up from 88,000 for March. The unemployment
rate is seen holding steady at 7.6 percent.
Given a weak reading on private sector hiring released
earlier this week, market players probably suspect that the jobs
data might be weaker, said Satoshi Okagawa, senior global
markets analyst for Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation in
"I don't think there will be that much of an impact even if
it were to come in at around 100,000 or so," Okagawa said,
referring to nonfarm payrolls.
If the jobs data adds to recent signs of a softening in the
U.S. economy, it could intensify speculation that the Fed is
unlikely to scale back its bond purchases very soon, and that
its next move might even be to increase its debt buying, now at
$85 billion per month. Such talk would likely weigh on the
In a policy statement on Wednesday after its latest policy
meeting, the Fed had indicated that it may increase or decrease
its monthly bond purchases depending on the outlook for the
labour market and inflation.
The dollar held steady at 97.99 yen, having pulled up
from a two-week low of 96.99 yen set on April 30. Moves in the
dollar versus the yen were subdued, with Japanese markets closed
on Friday for a public holiday.
In an encouraging sign for the U.S. labour market's outlook,
data released on Thursday showed that the number of Americans
filing new jobless benefits claims fell sharply last week to a
The report on jobless claims had helped give a lift to the
dollar against the yen on Thursday, although it has no direct
bearing on Friday's April jobs data.
The euro steadied somewhat versus the dollar, but was seen
facing headwinds after sliding the previous day when the
European Central Bank cut interest rates and held out the
possibility of further policy action.
The euro edged up 0.1 percent to $1.3071, but
remained well below a two-month high of $1.3243 set on Wednesday
on trading platform EBS.
The ECB cut its benchmark refinancing rate by 25 basis
points to a record low 0.5 percent on Thursday in a widely
The single currency came under pressure after ECB President
Mario Draghi said the bank is technically ready for negative
deposit rates and noted downside risks to the economy.
A negative deposit rate would effectively penalise banks for
hoarding cash. Such a move could drive money out of the euro
zone into other higher-yielding assets and encourage the banks
to lend out money rather than hold it at the central bank.
"One of the frustrations of the ECB is the monetary
transmission mechanism has broken down. I think in order to aid
the repair of that, there's a likelihood that we'll see further
measures," said Mitul Kotecha, Hong Kong-based head of global
foreign exchange strategy for Credit Agricole.
Such talk of further possible ECB action may weigh on the
single currency, he said.
"I think that will help cap the euro at a time when the
growth outlook in Europe continues to remain very weak."