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FOREX-Dollar steady, focus on U.S.-China talks, jobs data
April 7, 2017 / 12:56 AM / 8 months ago

FOREX-Dollar steady, focus on U.S.-China talks, jobs data

* DXY on track for modest weekly gain

* Euro slumps after dovish hints from ECB’s Draghi

* March jobs report expected to show a rise of 180,000

TOKYO, April 7 (Reuters) - The dollar edged up on Friday, on track for modest weekly gains, as investors nervously waited on the outcome of talks between the U.S. and Chinese presidents and ahead of a monthly jobs report that could back views for more U.S. interest rate hikes.

The dollar index, which gauges the greenback against a basket of six major rivals, added 0.1 percent to 100.73, up 0.4 percent for the week.

Against its Japanese counterpart, the dollar edged up 0.1 percent to 110.92 yen, down 0.4 percent for the week.

Later on Friday, the U.S. nonfarm payrolls report is expected to show an increase of 180,000 jobs in March, compared with 235,000 in February, according to economists polled by Reuters, which could reinforce expectations that the Federal Reserve will deliver two more interest rate increases this calendar year.

Markets are also squarely focused on U.S. President Donald Trump’s first meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, with trade and North Korea’s military program in focus.

“I think the market has no strong expectations from the U.S.-China summit,” said Masashi Murata, senior currency strategist at Brown Brothers Harriman in Tokyo.

“I think the dollar will move flatly today, ahead of the U.S. jobs data, with the situations with North Korea and Syria contributing to risk-off sentiment,” he said.

Trump said on Thursday that “something should happen” with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad after a deadly poison gas attack in that country, as the Pentagon and the White House studied military options.

The U.S. president has also warned that he would be ready to act unilaterally to address North Korea’s nuclear program if China does not step up to help in the matter.

Trump’s domestic policy agenda was put in the spotlight on Thursday, when U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan said tax reform would take longer to accomplish than healthcare reform. Ryan said that Congress and the White House were initially closer to agreement on healthcare legislation than on tax policy.

Currency policy was also in focus, after an administration official told Reuters that “misalignment” was seen as more significant than “currency manipulation” as a cause of trade deficits.

“Currency misalignment is different from currency manipulation and currency undervaluation,” the official said. “So we want to see a process of analysing currency situations that includes whether it’s misaligned, not just whether it’s devalued or manipulated.”

The euro was flat on the day at $1.0643, after dovish comments from European Central Bank President Mario Draghi helped push it to a three week low of $1.0629 overnight. It was down 0.1 percent for the week.

Draghi said on Thursday that he does “not see cause to deviate” from the ECB’s stated policy path, which includes bond buying at least until the end of the year and record-low rates until well after that to stimulate inflation. (Reporting by Tokyo markets team; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

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