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Dollar Slips as U.S. Jobs Report Tempers Rate Hike Bets

Dollar slips as U.S. jobs report tempers rate hike bets - The dollar slipped against a currency basket on Monday after the latest U.S. jobs report showed that while jobs growth remained strong, boosting risk appetite, wage growth slowed, tempering expectations for a faster pace of rate hikes this year.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a basket of six major currencies, was at 89.94 by 04:54 AM ET (08:54 AM GMT), down 0.18% for the day.

The Labor Department reported Friday that the U.S. economy added 313,000 jobs last month, but average hourly earnings rose by just 0.1% in February.

The strong jobs growth boosted global risk appetite, while the slowdown in wage growth dampened expectations for four rate hikes by the Federal Reserve this year, a negative for the dollar, which tends to become more attractive to yield-seeking investors when borrowing costs rise.

The euro pushed higher, with EUR/USD rising 0.18% to 1.2329.

Gains in the single currency were held in check after European Central Bank President Mario Draghi downplayed a decision to drop the easing bias from last week’s rate statement and warned that increasing protectionism posed a threat to the outlook for growth in the euro area.

Sterling also gained ground against the greenback, with USD/GBP climbing 0.17% to 1.3877.

Against the yen, the dollar was lower, with USD/JPY down 0.24% to 106.54.

Demand for the yen was boosted amid concerns over a growing cronyism scandal linked to the Japanese prime minister and his wife involving the sale of public land.

The safe haven yen tends to rise in times of market uncertainty.

The risk sensitive Australian and New Zealand dollars were also higher, with AUD/USD up 0.19% to 0.7862 and NZD/USD adding 0.43% to trade at 0.7310.

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