NEW YORK (Reuters) - The dollar was marginally lower on Friday against a basket of currencies, holding above a one-week low as a mixed report on the U.S. jobs market in August reinforced the view of a slowing expansion and chances of more interest rate cuts from the Federal Reserve.
Fed Chair Jerome Powell did little to ruffle those expectations. At an overseas event on Friday, he cited risks in particular U.S.-China trade tensions that may derail the current U.S. economic expansion, which is the longest one on record.
“The jobs data were sufficiently mixed,” said Marc Chandler, chief market strategist at Bannockburn Global Forex LLC in New York. “The market is not going to change its view of a rate cut later in September.”
The U.S. Labor Department said domestic employers hired 130,000 workers in August, fewer than the 158,000 forecast among economists polled by Reuters, while hourly wages grew 0.4% last month, a tad faster than the 0.3% increase projected by analysts.
Interest rate futures still implied traders positioned for a quarter-point rate decrease at the Fed’s Sept. 17-18 policy meeting, according to CME Group’s FedWatch program.
“We are going to act as appropriate to sustain the expansion,” said Powell on a panel in Zurich.
“The Fed will keep the record long expansion going with future rate cuts as significant risks to the outlook will warrant further accommodation,” said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at OANDA in New York.
In late U.S. trading, an index that tracks the greenback against the euro, yen, sterling and three other currencies .DXY was 0.03% lower at 98.386 after hitting a one-week low of 98.085 on Thursday.
The dollar index is on track for nearly a 0.6% decline, its steepest weekly loss in a month.
The greenback lost ground against its rivals as global tensions receded this week, most notably with China and the United States agreeing to high-level trade talks in October.
Safe-haven bids for the dollar also abated in response to political opposition to a “no-deal” Brexit and Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam’s withdrawal of an expedition bill that triggered months of violent protests.
Still, global tensions have not dissipated, so there remain some underlying bids for the dollar and yen, analysts said.
The Japanese yen JPY=EBS was up 0.05% versus the dollar and up 0.11% against the euro EURJPY=EBS.
Meanwhile, riskier currencies are looking at weekly gains with improved investor sentiment.
For example, the Australian dollar was up 0.49% at $0.68485, putting it on track for its first weekly increase since mid-July.
The Aussie dollar, whose fortunes are tied to the Chinese economy, was bolstered earlier by the People’s Bank of China’s move to cut banks’ reserve requirements for the first time this year.
The Chinese currency in the offshore market CNH=D3 was up 0.5% against the greenback at 7.1025 yuan after touching its strongest level in two weeks.
Reporting by Richard Leong; Additional reporting by Saikat Chatterjee in London; Tom Westbrook in Singapore; Editing by Larry King, Jonathan Oatis and Sabdra Maler