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Friday April 3, 2009 - 19:55:27 GMT
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FOREX MEWS - Dollar rises vs yen after nonfarm jobs report

Fri Apr 3, 2009 2:45pm EDT

* Dollar rises above 100 yen after US jobs report

* US economy lost 663,000 jobs in March

* Risk appetite continues to improve on stock gains, G20 (Updates prices, adds quote, comment; changes byline)

By Wanfeng Zhou

NEW YORK, April 3 (Reuters) - The U.S. dollar rose against the yen on Friday after the key U.S. nonfarm payrolls report came in not as bad as many had feared, bolstering investors' appetite for riskier assets.

The dollar was little changed against the euro, stabilizing after falling sharply in the previous session sparked by a smaller-than-expected interest-rate cut by the European Central Bank.

The dollar rose above 100 yen after data showed U.S. employers cut 663,000 jobs in March and drove the unemployment rate to 8.5 percent, a 25-year high. For details, see [ID:nN03321597].

"It's a pretty awful number but it was almost to be expected," said Matt Esteve, a foreign exchange trader at Tempus Consulting in Washington. "There seems to be no bottom in the U.S. job markets yet, but other recent economic indicators have been better than expected."

"The dollar trading above 100 versus the yen, it's really where it should be," he added. "The Japanese economy is in dire straits."

The dollar was last up 0.8 percent at 100.30 yen <JPY=> after rising as high as 100.37 yen, a five-month peak, according to Reuters data.

The euro was up 0.1 percent at $1.3474 <EUR=> after dipping to $1.3366 after the jobs data. A slowing rate of contraction in Britain's services sector lifted sterling 0.6 percent to $1.4821 <GBP=>.

The dollar and yen have come under pressure in recent sessions, while higher-yielding, commodity currencies rose as gains in stock markets worldwide eroded safe-haven flows into the two currencies.

Investor appetite for risk improved on Thursday after fresh efforts by world leaders at the G20 summit in London to fight the global economic crisis spurred optimism and on a change in U.S. accounting rules that should help troubled banks.

The dollar and yen tend to rise in times of trouble as investors repatriate funds from higher-yielding currencies and riskier assets.

"There had been a degree of enthusiasm that perhaps the world economy has seen the worst, and the jobs data tempered that enthusiasm a bit," said Vassili Serebriakov, currency strategist at Wells Fargo in New York.

But while he said the data points to a sharp economic contraction in the first three months of the year, "the actual report was close to expectations" and thus failed to erase what he called the "feel-good factor in markets in recent days." (Additional reporting by Vivianne Rodrigues and Steven C. Johnson; editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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