Dollar rises as job gains beat forecasts | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, November 03, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, November 03, 2019

Dollar rises as job gains beat forecasts

The dollar rose on Friday after data showed that US jobs growth slowed less than expected in October, while wages gained and hiring in the prior two months was stronger than previously estimated.

Nonfarm payrolls increased by 128,000 jobs last month, while average hourly earnings increased six cents, or 0.2 percent after being unchanged in September. The data is much better than expected. Markets were braced, certainly in headline terms, for some much weaker numbers given the expected impact from the GM strike and the census hiring.

So very good data in that context, said Shaun Osborne, chief fx strategist at Scotiabank in Toronto. Striking workers who do not receive a paycheck during the payrolls survey period are treated as unemployed.

The strike by about 46,000 workers at GM plants in Michigan and Kentucky ended last Friday. Temporary census workers also left their jobs during the month. The dollar index against a basket of six major currencies rose as high as 97.45, up from 99.27 before the data, before retracing to 97.30, up 0.02 percent on the day.

The dollar has weakened since the Federal Reserve on Wednesday cut rates for the third time this year, and indicated that further reductions may not be forthcoming. Concerns about a slowing US economy is weighing on the greenback, with the US central bank expected to resume rate cuts if the economic data worsens.

Safe haven flows into the US currency have also weakened on optimism that the United States and China are close to reaching a deal to end their trade war, which has been blamed for slowing global growth.

The apparent progress on US-China trade talks has undercut the dollar to some extent, said Osborne. And, there is a bit more vulnerability starting to feed into the dollar with perhaps the US economy slowing down.

The initial  “phase one” trade pact with China appears to be in good shape and is likely to be signed around mid-November, although a finite date is still in question, US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said on Friday.

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