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FOREX-Dollar dips against euro as French politics offset U.S. jobs data
May 5, 2017 / 2:42 PM / 5 months ago

FOREX-Dollar dips against euro as French politics offset U.S. jobs data

(New throughout, updates market activity, adds comments; changes byline, dateline, pvs LONDON)

* Euro hits roughly 6-month high vs dollar

* U.S. job growth rebounds sharply in April

* Traders remain bullish on euro ahead of French election

* Dollar remains slightly higher vs yen

By Sam Forgione

NEW YORK, May 5 (Reuters) - The U.S. dollar hit its lowest level in roughly six months against the euro on Friday after data showing U.S. jobs growth rebounded sharply in April was not enough to shake investors’ bullishness toward the euro ahead of the second round of France’s presidential election.

U.S. nonfarm payrolls surged by 211,000 jobs last month, the Labor Department said, beating expectations of economists polled by Reuters for a gain of 185,000. The drop of one-tenth of a percentage point in the unemployment rate to 4.4 percent took it to its lowest level since May 2007.

Payrolls growth in March was revised downward to 79,000 from 98,000, however, and the labor force participation rate dipped slightly to 62.9 percent from 63 percent.

Analysts said traders are anticipating that the euro will rise above a technical barrier of $1.10 against the dollar if, as expected, centrist Emmanuel Macron defeats anti-EU candidate Marine Le Pen in Sunday’s French election, and were remaining bullish on the euro for that reason.

They also said the weaker March jobs figure and labor force participation rate gave traders an excuse to continue holding the euro. The euro hit $1.0991, its highest since early November 2016, after the U.S. jobs data and has risen to that level from a 14-year low of $1.0339 touched in early January.

“People were looking for a Macron victory, the end of event risk from the French election, for that to push us through $1.10,” said Greg Anderson, global head of foreign exchange strategy at BMO Capital Markets. “There’s nothing in the payrolls data that is going to blow them out of the water from that.”

The dollar rose slightly against the yen and was last up 0.1 percent against the Japanese currency at 112.54 yen after the data, but remained below Thursday’s roughly seven-week high of 113.04 yen.

Analysts said the dollar remained at elevated levels against the yen since the U.S. jobs data did little to challenge the view that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates in June.

“(The jobs data) is good news from the Fed’s perspective,” said Stephen Casey, senior foreign exchange trader at Cambridge Global Payments in New York.

The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of six major rivals but the majority of whose weighting is against the euro, was last down 0.1 percent at 98.729 after touching a roughly six-month low of 98.678 after the jobs data. (Reporting by Sam Forgione; Additional reporting by Ritvik Carvalho in London; Editing by Andrea Ricci)

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