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* U.S. payroll data at 1430 GMT may show drop in hiring
* Euro set for best weekly performance since September 2018
* Analysts divided on dollar’s near-term direction
* Graphic: World FX rates in 2019 tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh
By Tom Finn
LONDON, June 7 (Reuters) - The dollar was headed on Friday for its worst week since December, before a U.S. jobs report that investors expect to bolster the case for a Federal Reserve interest rate cut.
The prospects of the Fed’s reacting to an escalating China-U.S. trade row by cutting rates has dragged the dollar to a two-month low this week and helped the euro rise above $1.13.
On Friday, however, the euro relinquished all its gains from Thursday after a policy review by the European Central Bank that was less dovish than expected.
The U.S. non-farm payrolls data for May due out at 1430 GMT is expected to show a drop in hiring.
“The NFP series, more than most, tends to hold up until it falls off the edge of a cliff, and that cliff is getting closer,” said Societe Generale strategist Kit Juckes.
A slowdown in the U.S. labour market was evident in a worse-than-expected ADP National Employment Report released on Wednesday.
Others are more sanguine about the dollar’s prospects.
“I believe the market’s assumption that the Fed is going to cut interest rates soon is premature. For now, the Fed can afford to remain patient,” said Marshall Gittler, an analyst at ACLS Global.
“I would expect the dollar to recover over the medium term, although it may take some time before people realize that a rate cut is not imminent.”
The ECB on Thursday ruled out raising rates in the next year and even opened the door to buying more bonds as a global trade war and Brexit drag the euro zone economy down.
But the market been expecting a stronger hint of rate cut, and consequently the euro and euro zone bond yields rose, putting more pressure on the dollar.
The euro was down 0.05% to $1.1269 but still set for a weekly gain of 0.9%, its best weekly performance against the dollar since late September last year, when it rose nearly 1.1%.
Against a basket of six other currencies, the dollar was steady at 97.042, trading about 0.3% above Wednesday’s eight-week low of 96.749.
The index was on course for a 0.72% loss this week, its worst weekly performance since the week of March 15, when it gave up 0.73%. (Additional reporting by Daniel Leussink in Tokyo, editing by Larry King)