11 March 2013: US-Dollar keeps the upper hand

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The USD keeps the upper hand in the currencies markets and continue to gain both against a currency basket and major currencies as Euro, GBP and JPY. USD/JPY traded at 96,10 – a 3-and-a-half year high following surprisingly strong USD labor data on Friday. US employers added a more-than-expected 236 000 workers to their payrolls in February. The jobless rate fell to a four year low of 7,7%.

There is still a way to go before the unemployment numbers reach the 6,5% target set by the Federal Reserve (FED) and monetary easing is reconsidered. Before this target is obtained the US economy must produce more than 200 000 monthly jobs for the next three consecutive months. The strong February data has, however, created a momentum and new optimism that the US economy finally is turning and lying the financial crisis from the autumn 2008 behind.

Risk appetite was, however, curbed by a mixed bag of economic data from China painting a patchy recovery in the world’s second-largest economy. The data signaled a looming dilemma for policymakers, as inflation stood at a 10 month high in February. Factory output and consumer spending were weaker than forecast. The data caught commodity prices between growing optimism of increased consumption and a stronger dollar. Non-dollar holders are buying dollar-denominated commodities.

In Asia the MSCI-index for Asia-Pacific was up 0,1% while Shanghai fell 0,3%. The Dow Jones industrial average posted its fourth consecutive record high on Friday. European shares also jumped on the strong US labor data. The strength of the dollar is also a reflection of more fundamental money flows out of the yen and euro. These developments nudge the dollar higher. Currency speculators are boosting their bets in favor of USD and raised their short positions in most other currencies as yen, pound sterling GBP and Euro. Oil and precious metal prices keep steady. 

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