Dollar firms vs euro ahead of US jobs report

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NEW YORK (AFP) – The dollar firmed against the euro Thursday ahead of the May US jobs report that could tip the Federal Reserve toward an interest rate hike this month or in July.

After a spate of hawkish comment from Fed officials recently, the markets have priced in the risk of a Fed rate hike in the coming months.

“For the prospect of a June or July move by the Fed to remain on the table, upcoming data, particularly tomorrow s all-important US payrolls report, will have to reinforce the idea that the economy is strong enough to withstand another rate increase,” said Omer Esiner of Commonwealth Foreign Exchange.

The dollar rose to $1.1154 per euro around 2100 GMT from $1.1187 at the same time Wednesday.

The European Central Bank, as expected, left its ultra-loose monetary policy unchanged but upgraded slightly inflation and economic growth forecasts for the 19-nation eurozone this year.

“Euro traders were not impressed because (ECB President) Mario Draghi went out of his way to emphasize his willingness to increase stimulus if markets go haywire after the UK referendum,” said Kathy Lien of BK Asset Management.

The pound, which has fallen since the beginning of the week on worries over the coming June 23 referendum on whether Britain remains or leaves the European Union, was slightly higher at $1.4424.

The yen continued to climb, to 108.88 per dollar and 121.44 per euro. The Japanese currency, considered a safe haven in times of uncertainty, has found support from the Brexit concerns and worries about the frail Japanese economy.