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US dollar nurses losses after downbeat US jobs data, pound edges lower
[TOKYO] The US dollar nursed losses on Monday, coming close to a seven-month low against a currency basket plumbed after disappointing US employment data prompted investors to pare back their expectations of future US Federal Reserve rate hikes.
The US dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six major currencies, was flat in early Asian trading at 96.736 but not far from Friday's nadir of 96.654, its lowest since Nov 9.
Sterling edged down, under pressure after the third terrorist attack in Britain in less than three months killed at least seven people on Saturday.
The attack came days ahead of Thursday's UK election, in which polls show British Prime Minister Theresa May's lead over the opposition Labour Party is still intact but has narrowed.
US nonfarm payrolls rose by 138,000 in May, Labor Department data showed on Friday, suggesting the labour market was losing momentum despite the unemployment rate falling to a 16-year low of 4.3 per cent. Economists polled by Reuters had predicted an increase of 185,000.
While market participants still expect the US central bank to raise interest rates this month, many expect a more dovish course for the second half of this year.
"The pessimistic story of the jobs data should weigh on the dollar as the Fed is still expected to hike rates in June, but most market participants believe it won't hike for a long time after that, and maybe not in September or December," said Masashi Murata, currency strategist for Brown Brothers Harriman in Tokyo.
The US dollar was nearly unchanged against the yen at 110.40 after brushing a two-week low of 110.25 earlier in the session, while the euro edged down 0.1 per cent to US$1.1270 after rising to a seven-month high of US$1.1285.
Sterling edged down 0.2 per cent to US$1.2866.
"Today and tomorrow, I am guessing that sterling will move in a range ahead of the UK election, as I think no one can accurately forecast the outcome," Mr Murata said.
"Brexit has taught us not to believe polls, and not to take aggressive positions ahead of UK events."