* Dollar rises to seven-week highs against yen
* Draghi's optimistic comments underpin euro
* Sterling slightly higher, pressured by euro's ascent
* Graphic: World FX rates in 2017 tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh
By Ritvik Carvalho
LONDON, March 10 The dollar rose to seven-week
highs against the yen on Friday, as investors awaited U.S. jobs
data that is likely to cement expectations of a Federal Reserve
interest rate hike next week.
A surprisingly robust private U.S. jobs report from ADP on
Thursday bolstered bets the monthly non-farm payrolls release
due at 1330 GMT will come in strong, further strengthening the
case for the Fed to raise rates at meeting next week - as
signalled in recent weeks by Fed officials.
Markets are now pricing in an almost 90 percent chance of a
hike, according to Reuters data.
The dollar climbed almost half a percent on Friday to
115.495 yen, its highest levels since Jan. 20, leaving it
up nearly 1-1/2 percent for the week.
The dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a
basket of six major rivals, was flat at 101.80. It was on
track for its fifth straight week of gains - its best run in
eight months - after a quarter-of-a-percent rise this week.
"In the near term it's going to be quite tough for there to
be further dollar strength, given how well-priced the Fed
meeting is next week, and also just how much the market has
priced for the year now as a whole," said currency strategist
Hamish Pepper at Barclays in London.
"Of course that (pricing) holds some relevance for the
labour market report today - it implies that you really need to
see quite a significant upside surprise if you're to see
continued dollar strength."
Economists polled by Reuters forecast that U.S. employers
likely added 190,000 workers last month.
The euro was up 0.3 percent at a four-day high of $1.0618
, having been boosted by comments from European Central
Bank head Mario Draghi on Thursday that investors saw as
Draghi said the ECB had removed from its statement a
reference to using all available measures to induce growth and
inflation, "because the sense of urgency is not there".
He also said the Bank's 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.
"In our view, these relatively hawkish comments from Draghi
suggest that the days of aggressive ECB easing may be behind
us," IronFX analyst Charalambos Pissouros wrote in a note to
"However, we would avoid euro/dollar, considering that
today’s US jobs data could prove the trigger for a retreat."
(Reporting by Ritvik Carvalho)