* Dollar rises to six-week highs against yen
* Draghi's optimistic comments underpin euro
* Sterling skids, pressured by euro's ascent
TOKYO, March 10 The dollar firmed to six-week
highs against the yen on Friday, on track for weekly gains
against most rivals as investors awaited U.S. job data that is
likely to reinforce expectations of a Federal Reserve interest
rate hike next week.
A surprisingly robust private U.S. jobs report from ADP
heightened bets the monthly nonfarm payrolls release later on
Friday will give the Fed more reason to raise rates at its March
14-15 meeting - as many central bank officials have recently
signalled it intends to do.
Markets were pricing in more than a 90 percent chance of a
hike after Wednesday's private-sector payrolls report showed
employers added 298,000 jobs in February.
Analysts polled by Reuters forecast that U.S. employers
likely added 190,000 workers last month, fewer than January's
227,000 and average hourly earnings likely grew 0.3 percent
following a 0.3 percent fall in January.
"No one is expecting anything particularly weak, so it looks
like that's building the case for a hike for March," said Mitul
Kotecha, head of FX and rates strategy for Barclays in
"The only thing is that it does seem as if a lot is priced
in, in terms of the dollar," he said. "I wonder how much more
can be priced in from here? A lot is already in the price."
The dollar was up 0.2 percent at 115.21 yen, firming
to its highest levels since Jan. 27, and up 1 percent for the
"The dollar has risen as U.S. Treasury yields went up this
week, but there appears to be some resistance on the upside
around the middle of the 115-yen level," said Yutaka Miura, a
senior technical analyst at Mizuho Securities.
The benchmark 10-year Treasury yield rose as
high as 2.624 percent in Asian trading on Friday, its highest
since Dec. 15, according to Reuters data, and well above
Thursday's U.S. close of 2.598 percent as investors factored in
a U.S. rate hike.
The euro was up 0.2 percent at $1.0594, but still
down 0.3 percent for the week even after comments from European
Central Bank head Mario Draghi pulled it off its session lows on
Draghi said the ECB removed a reference to using all
available measures to induce growth and inflation "because the
sense of urgency is not there".
He also said the Governing Council had discussed removing a
reference to lowering interest rates in its forward guidance,
and had increased its inflation and growth profile for the euro
zone next year.
Against the yen, the euro rose 0.4 percent to 122.07
, ascending to its highest levels since early February
and up 0.8 percent for the week.
Draghi's optimism pressured the pound, which fell as low as
$1.2134 overnight, its deepest trough since Jan. 17. It
was last slightly lower on the day at $1.2160, down more than 1
percent for the week.
The dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a
basket of six major rivals, edged up 0.1 percent to 101.90
, and was on track to gain 0.4 percent for the week.
(Reporting by Tokyo markets team; Editing by Kim Coghill and