The dollar held its ground at 1 month highs against its peers following the release of solid US private sector employment figures which fueled positive market sentiment.  US nonfarm private employment climbed by 214,000 jobs in February beating forecasts for an increase of 190,000 after the US economy added 193,000 in January.  The data follows a series of favorable US economic releases raising hopes the Federal Reserve will make another increase to its key interest rate at some point this year.  The US dollar index was up 0.17% trading at 98.52 near its 1 month high of 98.59 hit in yesterday’s session. 

The euro weakened against the dollar with the pair down 0.2% trading at 1.0867 off its session low of 1.0825 after having come off its session high of 1.0881 reached earlier in the day.  The euro was still pressured to the downside following the release of poor inflation and factory data for the euro zone which raised predictions of increased stimulus measures to be introduced by the European Central Bank and its meeting next week. 

The pound strengthened against the dollar with the pair up 0.8% trading at 1.4082 off its session high of 1.4092 after having come off its session low of 1.3913 reached earlier in the day.  The pound had traded at session lows on the back of data which revealed that UK’s construction purchasing managers’ index dropped from a reading of 55.0 in January to 54.2 in February highlighting the slowest increase in overall construction output in nearly a year.  The Bank of England will most likely keep rates unchanged for an extended period of time.    

The yen strengthened against the dollar with the pair down 0.2% trading at 113.46 off its session low of 113.34 after having come off its session high of 114.55 reached earlier in the day.  The yen had reached 2 week lows against the dollar earlier in the session as the market’s appetite for risk was rejuvenated in light of GDP data from Australia and manufacturing data from the US which lessened worry over lagging global economic growth.  Extended declines in oil prices stoked concerns over the US economy and boosted the safe-haven yen.     

The Australian and New Zealand dollars strengthened while the Canadian dollar weakened against the greenback.  The Aussie was up over 1% against the dollar with the pair trading at session highs of 0.7299 after having come off its session low of 0.7164 reached earlier in the day.  The kiwi dollar advanced 0.2% against the greenback with the pair trading at 0.6667 off its session high of 0.6676 after having come off its session low of 0.6593 reached earlier in the day.  The Aussie was supported by data which revealed that Australia’s GDP expanded by 0.6% in the 4th quarter of last year edging out forecasts of 0.4% following growth of 1.1% in the 3rd quarter.  The loonie retreated 0.32% against the greenback with the pair trading at 1.3451 off its session high of 1.3499 after having come off its session low of 1.3404 reached earlier in the day.  Strong US employment data helped the greenback edge out the loonie however demand for the Canadian currency with close ties to commodity markets was underpinned by rising oil prices.  Oil held above $34 per barrel after trading lower amid the possibility the world’s largest oil producers will reach a deal to lower production.      

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