By Kevin Buckland
TOKYO (Reuters) – The dollar firmed against major peers in Asian trading after a robust U.S. jobs report spurred traders to price in higher interest rates for longer.
The Australian dollar erased early losses after a report showed a pick-up in services activity in key trading partner China. The yuan also got a boost.
The Canadian dollar proved resilient, buoyed by a spike in crude oil prices.
The U.S. dollar garnered support from higher Treasury yields after data on Friday showed payrolls in the public and private sector increased by 339,000 in May, far outstripping the 190,000 forecast on average by economists polled by Reuters.
The U.S. currency gained 0.11% to 140.135 yen, as 10-year U.S. Treasury yields climbed more than 3 basis points to 3.727% in Tokyo. The dollar rallied 0.84% against the yen on Friday.
The euro slipped 0.04% to $1.0702, extending the previous session’s 0.51% slide.
While headline U.S. jobs growth was much stronger than expected in May, wage pressures eased and the unemployment rate climbed off a 53-year low, potentially giving the Federal Reserve scope to pause their rate hiking campaign at the upcoming June 13-14 meeting, as some officials had voiced a preference for doing last week.
However, those bets simply shifted to July, and traders eased off on bets for rate cuts later in the year.
CME Group’s FedWatch tool shows interest rate traders are laying 1-in-4 odds for a hike next week, down from 2-in-3 odds a week earlier. For July, markets put 70% odds for rates to be at least a quarter point above where they are currently.
“It’s very data-driven, and given that wages are moderating, it would point to a potential pause – but I don’t believe they’re done,” said Bart Wakabayashi, a branch manager at State Street in Tokyo.
“The dollar overall is going to remain well supported.”
Wakabayashi expects the dollar to push up to 142.50 yen, and a clear break of that would open the way to 145.
“If there are any dips, there are going to be people looking to buy dollar-yen,” he said.
The Aussie was flat at $0.6605, recovering from early losses of as much as 0.25%, aided by more evidence of China’s recovery from the pandemic. The private-sector Caixin/S&P Global services purchasing managers’ index (PMI) rose to 57.1 in May from 56.4 in April – contrasting with the official PMI released last week that showed a slower pace of expansion.
The yuan edged up, reversing an earlier decline. The U.S. dollar was 0.03% lower at 7.1074 yuan in offshore trading, after earlier gaining 0.15%. It reached a six-month high at 7.1404 on Thursday.
The Canadian dollar was also firm, amid a more than 1% rise in crude prices after Saudi Arabia announced its biggest production cut in years. The greenback slipped 0.06% to C$1.34265, approaching Friday’s two-week low of C$1.3408.
(Reporting by Kevin Buckland; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)