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Friday November 3, 2006 - 11:28:12 GMT
Reuters - www.reuters.com

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FOREX-Dollar steadies ahead of U.S. employment data

FOREX-Dollar steadies ahead of U.S. employment data
Fri Nov 3, 2006 6:17am ET16

(Changes byline, adds quotes, updates prices)

By Veronica Brown

LONDON, Nov 3 (Reuters) - The dollar was steady against the euro and yen on Friday, with trading volume thinned by a Japanese public holiday and investor reluctance to make big bets ahead of a key U.S. employment report.

The yen rose fleetingly after China's central bank said it had raised bank reserve requirements by half a percentage point but gave back these small gains just as quickly.

In recent sessions a run of softer than expected U.S. economic data has sent the dollar to one month lows versus the euro and yen and to two-month lows against sterling amid concern that slowing economic growth could lead the Federal Reserve to cut interest rates soon.

Any weakness in October U.S. non-farm payrolls -- due at 1330 GMT -- could hurt the dollar further.

"Five out of six payrolls numbers have been lower than expected, and the risk is I think that the trend of a deterioration in the labour market comes through again in the October numbers," said Adam Cole, senior currency strategist at Royal Bank of Canada Capital Markets.

The median forecast is for a net rise of 125,000 in non-farm payrolls in October but the latest derivatives auction on the data shows the market is betting on something nearer 99,500.

Some analysts expect an upward surprise, however, citing a robust employment component in the U.S. Institute for Supply Management's October manufacturing report and a rise in the ADP National Employment index.

By 1034 GMT, the euro was steady on the day at $1.2770 , stopping short of Wednesday's one-month peak near $1.28, where some traders have reported options barriers.

The dollar was steady at 117.04 yen, about half a yen above the one-month lows hit earlier this week .

CHINA IMPACT LIMITED

The yen spiked briefly higher after China raised commercial banks' reserve requirements on Friday for the third time in five months to soak up more of the money gushing into the banking system from the country's huge balance of payments surplus.

The People's Bank of China said on its Web site (www.pbc.gov.cn) that it was increasing the proportion of deposits that banks must hold in reserve at the central bank by 0.5 percentage point, effective from Nov. 15.

"The Chinese authorities are taking steps to try to slow the pace of economic activity, the market had expected this," BOTM-UFJ currency economist Derek Halpenny said.

"I do not think there is any need for China to change the renminbi trading band -- you can see the pace of appreciation over the last few months, it's close to the Bank of China's tolerance level."

ECB SIGNALS SUPPORT EURO

The euro got a small boost on Thursday after the European Central Bank, as expected, held rates at 3.25 percent and signalled it would tighten policy in December.

But market reaction was limited as ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet declined to comment on the monetary policy outlook for 2007.

ECB Executive Board member Jose-Manuel Gonzalez-Paramo is due to speak at 1600 GMT.

The U.S. ISM non-manufacturing index, due at 1500 GMT, is forecast to rise to 54.5 from September's 52.9.

© Reuters 2006. All Rights Reserved.

 

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