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Commodity-linked curriences rise in Asia
[TOKYO] The dollar eased against most rivals in Asian trade on Thursday, with commodity-linked units enjoying support from a slight uptick in oil prices, while its Australian counterpart surged on the back of a strong jobs report.
The retreat in the greenback comes just a week before the Federal Reserve's next policy meeting where it is widely expected to hike interest rates, with some economists suggesting the move has been priced into the US unit.
Crude prices edged up in Asia after the Department of Energy said US inventories fell 3.6 million barrels in the week ending December 4.
The gains were a small chink of light for oil traders, with the black gold having slumped about nine per cent since Friday's decision by the Opec oil exporters club not to cut output despite a global oversupply and weakness in the world economy.
That helped currencies reliant on commodities, with the Malaysian ringgit up 0.3 per cent and the Australian dollar almost one percent up.
Indonesia's rupiah added 0.4 per cent and the Singapore dollar added 0.1 per cent.
Adding to the Aussie's strength were better-than-expected jobs figures - unemployment is now at its lowest since April 2014 - which eased expectations the Australian central bank will cut interest rates from already record lows.
The New Zealand dollar also rose 0.2 per cent on hopes a rate cut by Wellington will be the last for some time.
The US currency edged up against the euro, although the single currency continues to hold its gains since last week's European Central Bank stimulus revision that fell well short of expectations.
The euro bought US$1.1009 and 133.89 yen from 1.1026 and 133.86 yen New York.
The single currency also got a boost from comments by an ECB governor who said markets were wrong to count on bolder stimulus measures from the bank last week, calling their expectations "absurd".
"The ECB cannot and will not be driven by the markets," Austrian central bank head Ewald Nowotny, who is also a member of the ECB governing council, said in Vienna Wednesday.
The dollar bought 121.61 yen from 121.40 yen Wednesday in New York, where it earlier touched 121.10 yen, its lowest level in more than a month.
"Markets will be faced with heightened volatility going into the Fed's gathering amid risk aversion and a lack of fresh news," Yasuhiro Kaizaki, vice president for global markets at Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank, told Bloomberg News.