Dollar steady before U.S. jobs; euro above two-week low

Thu May 3, 2012 9:57pm EDT
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By Masayuki Kitano

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - The dollar held steady versus the yen and euro on Friday, but could face downside risks if U.S. jobs data disappoints and stirs renewed speculation about further monetary easing from the Federal Reserve.

The euro was little changed at $1.3156, having bounced off the previous day's two-week low after European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi on Thursday gave no strong hints about the possibility of more monetary stimulus.

After the ECB kept rates steady at 1 percent as expected and an uneventful Spanish bond auction on Thursday, focus now shifts to U.S. jobs data later on Friday as well as elections in France and Greece on Sunday.

The U.S. payrolls report is expected to show a gain of 170,000 in April, according to a Reuters poll of economists.

A disappointing result is seen likely to put the dollar under pressure.

"We've gone back to that situation where when the weaker data comes out, we start to price in more chance of QE3 and therefore the dollar goes weaker," said Rob Ryan, FX strategist at BNP Paribas in Singapore, referring to the possibility of the Fed launching another bond-buying program.

The dollar held steady versus the yen at 80.17 yen, staying above a 10-week low of 79.64 yen hit on Tuesday on trading platform EBS.

Yen-related flows are likely to be thinner than usual with Japanese markets closed on Friday for a public holiday.   Continued...

A bank clerk counts U.S. dollar banknotes on bundles of 100 Chinese yuan banknotes at a branch of a bank in Huaibei, Anhui province April 26, 2012. REUTERS/Stringer