SINGAPORE, Sept 4 (Reuters) – The dollar started Monday on a steady footing as investors assessed U.S. jobs data that showed some signs of cooling and bolstered expectations that the Federal Reserve was likely at the end of its monetary tightening cycle.
Data on Friday showed U.S. job growth picked up in August, but the unemployment rate jumped to 3.8%, while wage gains moderated. The economy created 110,000 fewer jobs than previously reported in June and July.
“The Goldilocks metaphor is much used and abused in economic and financial circles, but in relation to the various ‘soft landing’ signals emanating from the report, on this occasion it does seem entirely appropriate,” said Ray Attrill, head of foreign-exchange strategy at National Australia Bank.
Markets are pricing in a 93% chance of the Fed holding steady on rates this month, and over 60% probability of no more hikes this year, CME FedWatch tool showed.
Against a basket of currencies, the dollar was little changed at 104.20 but remained close to the two-month peak of 104.44 it touched on Aug. 25. The index rose 1.7% in August, snapping its two month losing streak. U.S. markets are closed on Monday.
A string of economic data highlighting moderating inflation as well as an easing labour market have added to the impression the U.S. economy is cooling without slowing sharply, reinforcing hopes that the economy is set for a soft landing.
However, Citi strategists are warning of a harder landing, saying in a note that “sticky wage and price inflation will lead to higher-for-longer policy rates and an eventual more substantial slowing of economic activity.”
Investor focus will be on a number of Fed officials due to speak this week for clues on what the U.S. central bank would do at their next policy meeting on Sept. 19-20.
The Japanese yen strengthened 0.03% to 146.18 per dollar, after dropping 0.5% on Friday following the labour data. The Asian currency has traded around the psychologically important 145 level since the middle of August as traders stay alert for any potential intervention.
Japan intervened in currency markets last year in September when the dollar rose past 145 yen, prompting the Ministry of Finance to buy the yen and push the pair back to around 140 yen.
The euro was up 0.05% to $1.0778, while sterling was last at $1.2596, up 0.06% on the day.
The Australian dollar added 0.17% to $0.646 ahead of the Reserve Bank of Australia policy meeting on Tuesday when they are expected to stand pat. A Reuters poll showed that all but two of 36 economists said the RBA would hold its official cash rate at 4.10% on Sept. 5.
Canada’s central bank is due to meet this week and is expected to hold rates. The Canadian dollar was flat at 1.36 per dollar.
In cryptocurrencies, bitcoin was last trading up 0.58% at $25,901.24. Ethereum , advanced 0.45% to $1,634.65.
Currency bid prices at 0148 GMT
Tokyo Forex market info from BOJ
Reporting by Ankur Banerjee in Singapore
Editing by Shri Navaratnam
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