Dollar gains ahead of US jobs report

10:12 AM | 6 Mar, 2015
Dollar gains ahead of US jobs report
NEW YORK (APP) - The dollar gained against other major currencies Thursday, on the eve of a US jobs report that if strong enough could support a Federal Reserve interest rate increase.

Economists expected a slowdown in jobs growth in February after a January surge, and a series of disappointing economic data recently has cast doubt on how well the labor market has held up.

According to economists' consensus estimates, the Labor Department will report Friday job growth dropped to 240,000 in February from 257,000 in

January, while the unemployment rate edged down to 5.6 percent.

The dollar firmed to $1.1028 against the euro late Thursday, compared with $1.1080 the prior day. The 19-nation currency had traded around $1.12 in the beginning of the week.

At one point, the euro was pushed below $1.10 for the first time since September 2003, hitting a low of $1.0988.

Kathy Lien of BK Asset Management said that investors were expecting a strong jobs number to reinforce their view that the Fed will hike near-zero rates in June.

"We are continually surprised by this aggressive forecast because there has been more deterioration than improvement in the economy over the last month," Lien said.

"However with the European Central Bank set to begin buying bonds on March 9 and the central banks of China, India and Poland surprising the markets with interest rate cuts this week, the Fed's plan to raise rates this year has made the dollar very attractive.