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Dollar gains on bets ECB could weaken euro, strong US data

By Reuters - Aug 30,2017 - Last updated at Aug 30,2017

In this photo illustration, twenty and five dollar bills are displayed on Tuesday in San Anselmo, California (AFP photo)

NEW YORK — The US dollar rose broadly on Wednesday on speculation the European Central Bank (ECB) could step in to weaken the euro and after strong US economic data boosted expectations for a solid US jobs report on Friday. 

The euro was on track for its biggest daily percentage drop against the dollar in nearly four weeks, of about 0.6 per cent, putting it back below $1.2 after touching a more than 2-1/2-year high of $1.2069 on Tuesday. It last traded at $1.1906.

Analysts said traders were starting to suspect that ECB President Mario Draghi could be growing more concerned about the euro's rise, despite making no mention of the currency's strength at a central bank gathering in Jackson Hole, Wyoming last Friday. 

Draghi's omission of commentary on the euro that Friday had contributed to the currency breaking past the critical $1.2 level on Tuesday. The euro is up more than 13 per cent against the dollar this year.

"The euro has gone way too fast, too quickly," said Dean Popplewell, chief currency strategist at Oanda in Toronto. "People are starting to sit back and wonder: 'what is the ECB going to do about inflation still being below expectations in Europe?'"

The ECB is set to hold a policy meeting next week. 

The dollar also gained after the Commerce Department said its second estimate of US gross domestic product showed that it increased at a 3 per cent annual rate in the second quarter, its quickest pace in more than two years.

The ADP National Employment Report showed US private-sector employers hired 237,000 workers in August for the biggest monthly increase in five months, also boosting the greenback and driving expectations for a solid US August non-farm payrolls figure.

The dollar touched a two-week high against the yen of 110.43 yen after the US data, rising further off a 4-1/2-month low of 108.25 struck Tuesday following North Korea's launch of a ballistic missile over Japan. 

The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of six major currencies, was last up 0.6 per cent at 92.799 after temporarily hitting a more than 2-1/2-year low of 91.621 on Tuesday. 

"Even if you have a small positive surprise [in non-farm payrolls], even around 200,000, that may extend the bid tone for the dollar," said Mazen Issa, senior currency strategist at TD Securities in New York. 

 

The dollar index pared gains slightly after US President Donald Trump dismissed any diplomatic negotiations with North Korea, saying "talking is not the answer".

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