March 8, 2019 / 3:58 AM / a month ago

Dollar retreats as U.S. job growth turns cold, euro recovers

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The dollar fell against most major currencies on Friday as data showed U.S. employers hired far fewer workers than forecast in February, while the euro rebounded from a 20-month low tied to the European Central Bank’s dovish shift the day before.

FILE PHOTO: U.S. dollar notes are seen in this November 7, 2016 picture illustration. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

The Swedish crown fell to a 16-year low as the Riksbank joined its central bank counterparts in Europe and Canada in adopting a cautious outlook.

The greenback reversed some of its biggest one-day gains in nearly seven months on Thursday as the European Central Bank and other overseas central banks hinted they might pump more stimulus, either by buying more assets or lowering interest rates to help their struggling economies.

Traders sold the dollar a bit more early Friday after a measly 20,000-job increase in domestic payrolls last month, far fewer than 180,000 forecast among analysts polled by Reuters. But traders were encouraged by the unemployment rate falling back below 4 percent and average hourly earnings accelerating by 0.4 percent.

“The dollar sold off mildly. It doesn’t look that bad when you look at the details,” said Peter Ng, senior currency trader at Silicon Valley Bank in Santa Clara, California.

In late U.S. trading, an index that tracks the dollar against a basket of six currencies was down 0.36 percent at 97.314. It touched 97.710 on Thursday, the highest since Dec. 14.

On the week, the dollar index gained 0.8 percent.

Much of the greenback’s weekly rise stemmed from a dramatic sell-off in the euro on Thursday when the ECB offered a fresh round of cheap loans to banks and pushed back any plan to raise rates into 2020.

The common currency rose 0.44 percent to $1.12425, rebounding from a 20-month low of $1.11765 reached on Thursday.

Friday’s rise reduced the euro’s weekly loss against the dollar to 1.1 percent.

Among other G10 currencies, the Swedish crown succumbed to further selling pressure, hitting 9.4890 on Friday, its weakest since August 2002. It touched 10.6465 per euro, which was last seen last August.

The crown slipped again a day after Swedish central bank governor Stefan Ingves struck a dovish note in a statement to parliament. Data showed Swedish house prices fell in the three months ending in February.

“Yesterday, the Riksbank suggested that its forecasts for repo rate hikes were simply that – a forecast but not a promise,” HSBC strategists said in a daily note.

GRAPHIC-Euro vs dollar - tmsnrt.rs/2C8AXF1

GRAPHIC-Swedish crown - tmsnrt.rs/2Unasmk

GRAPHIC-U.S. job gains stall - will they bounce back - tmsnrt.rs/2Un9XbP

GRAPHIC-U.S. unemployment interactive - tmsnrt.rs/2RIGI1O

GRAPHIC-U.S. wage growth - tmsnrt.rs/2NPj8iR

Additional reporting by Tom Finn in LONDON; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Chizu Nomiyama

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