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Forex News: Dollar Little Changed After Strong January Jobs Report

Dollar Little Changed After Strong January Jobs Report

02/03/2017 - 14:21:00 (RTTNews)

(RTTNews) - Despite the release of the stronger than expected January jobs report Friday morning, the dollar is turning in a rather lackluster performance as the week draws to a close. The U.S. currency is little changed in comparison to the Euro and the Japanese Yen this afternoon, but is modestly higher against the British pound.

Employment in the U.S. increased by more than anticipated in the month of January, according to a report released by the Labor Department on Friday. The Labor Department said non-farm payroll employment jumped by 227,000 jobs in January after climbing by a revised 157,000 jobs in December.

Economists had expected an increase of about 175,000 jobs compared to the addition of 156,000 jobs originally reported for the previous month. Despite the stronger than expected job growth, the unemployment rate inched up to 4.8 percent in January from 4.7 percent in December. The rate had been expected to remain unchanged.

While the Institute for Supply Management released a report on Friday showing that activity in the U.S. service sector saw continued growth in the month of January, the pace of growth in the sector slowed slightly compared to the previous month.

The ISM said its non-manufacturing index edged down to 56.5 in January from a revised 56.6 in December, although a reading above 50 still indicates growth in the service sector. Economists had expected the service sector index to dip to 57.0 from the 57.2 originally reported for the previous month.

Reflecting a sharp increase in orders for non-durable goods, the Commerce Department released a report on Friday showing a bigger than expected rebound in new orders for U.S. manufactured goods in the month of December.

The Commerce Department said factory orders surged up by 1.3 percent in December after tumbling by a revised 2.3 percent in November. Economists had expected factory orders to increase by 0.9 percent compared to the 2.4 percent slump originally reported for the previous month.

The dollar climbed to a 3-session high of $1.0713 against the Euro Friday morning, but has since retreated to around $1.0760, nearly unchanged for the day.

Eurozone retail sales dropped unexpectedly in December on food and auto fuel sales, figures from Eurostat revealed Friday. Retail sales fell 0.3 percent month-on-month in December, confounding expectations for an increase of 0.3 percent. Nonetheless, the pace of decline slowed from a revised -0.6 percent in November.

The Eurozone economy made a strong start to 2017 with output growth maintained at December's five-and-a-half year high, final data from IHS Markit showed Friday. The composite output index held steady at 54.4 in January and slightly above the earlier flash estimate of 54.3. The indicator signaled expansion in each of the past 43 months.

The buck has risen to around $1.2475 against the pound sterling Friday afternoon, from an early low of $1.2537.

UK service sector growth eased more-than-expected at the start of the year amid the slower output growth and higher costs, despite strong business expectations, survey data from IHS Markit and the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply showed Friday.

The CIPS Purchasing Managers' Index for the services sector dropped to 54.5 from 56.2 in December. Economists had forecast a score of 55.8.

Members of the Bank of Japan's monetary policy board believe that the country's economic recovery remains on a moderate recovery path, minutes from the board's December 19 and 20 meeting revealed on Friday.

Inflation expectations continue to be in a weakening phase, hampering the central bank's stated goal of ending deflation.

"The year-on-year rate of change in the CPI is likely to be slightly negative or about 0 percent for the time being, due to the effects of the decline in energy prices, and as the output gap improves and medium-to long-term inflation expectations rise, it is expected to increase toward 2 percent," the minutes said.

Downside risks to the economy include a softening of the Chinese economy, the European debt problem and the UK Brexit.

The greenback slipped to a low of Y112.346 against the Japanese Yen Friday, but has since bounced back to around Y112.975.

The services sector in Japan continued to expand in January, although at a slower pace, the latest survey from Nikkei showed on Friday with a PMI score of 51.9. That's down from 52.3 in December, although it remains well above the boom-or-bust line of 50 that separates expansion from contraction.

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