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FOREX-Dollar index surges on U.S. jobs data, Cohn comments
August 4, 2017 / 3:03 PM / 4 months ago

FOREX-Dollar index surges on U.S. jobs data, Cohn comments

(Updates prices, adds comments; changes byline, dateline, pvs LONDON)

* U.S. July non-farm payrolls 209,000 in July vs 183,000 expected

* Dollar index set for biggest 1-day pct gain since Dec. 2016

* NEC’s Cohn comments on tax plan boost dollar

* Dollar hits one-week high vs yen, over six-week high vs franc

By Sam Forgione

NEW YORK, Aug 4 (Reuters) - The U.S. dollar was on course for its biggest one-day gain against a basket of major rivals so far this year after a strong U.S. July payrolls report and comments from National Economic Council director Gary Cohn that the U.S. administration is working on a tax plan that would bring corporate profits back to United States.

The dollar index, which measures the greenback against six major rivals, jumped about 1 percent to a one-week high of 93.774 after the Labor Department said nonfarm payrolls increased by 209,000 jobs last month and Cohn commented to Bloomberg Television.

The jobs figure beat expectations of economists polled by Reuters for a gain of 183,000. June’s employment gain was revised up to 231,000 from the previously reported 222,000, while average hourly earnings increased 0.3 percent to match expectations after rising 0.2 percent in June.

Analysts said traders who had bet against or “shorted” the dollar - a popular bet as the dollar index posted its biggest monthly drop since March 2016 last month - were being forced to repurchase the currency after the jobs data and Cohn’s remarks.

“The dollar’s strength is a combination of strong payrolls, of this news on the repatriation front, and positioning,” said Alvise Marino, FX strategist at Credit Suisse in New York.

The dollar index’s gains put it on track for its biggest one-day percentage increase since Dec. 15. The euro fell more than 1 percent against the dollar to a four-day low of $1.1729 after touching a more than 2-1/2-year high of $1.1909 Wednesday.

Against the Japanese yen, the dollar gained as much as 0.9 percent to a one-week high of 111.04 yen, rising off recent seven-week lows. The dollar touched 0.9763 franc, its highest against the Swiss currency in more than six weeks.

The dollar has suffered in recent months, largely on increased doubts that the Federal Reserve would raise interest rates again this year and obstacles to U.S. President Donald Trump’s pro-growth agenda.

The outlook for a December rate hike remained uncertain despite the jobs data, with federal funds futures last implying traders saw a roughly 47 percent chance of a December increase on Friday, according to CME Group’s FedWatch tool.

“This is just a temporary correction in a marketplace that is oversold dollars,” said Richard Scalone, co-head of foreign exchange at TJM Brokerage in Chicago.

Reporting by Sam Forgione; Editing by Bill Trott

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