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Dollar slightly stronger against emerging market currencies

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The dollar was little changed against most of its Asia-Pacific peers on Friday as foreign exchange dealers looked ahead to closely watched US employment figures released later in the day.

[TOKYO] The dollar was little changed against most of its Asia-Pacific peers on Friday as foreign exchange dealers looked ahead to closely watched US employment figures released later in the day.

A handful of currencies including the South Korean won fell against the dollar as most regional equity markets paused after a two-day rally marking the beginning of the month.

With analysts hoping for fresh clues from the US jobs report on whether the Federal Reserve will change its monetary policy this year, the greenback edged up against a handful of other currencies from emerging economies.

"Today's US payrolls number has once again been labelled a 'much watch'," Chris Weston, chief markets strategist at IG Markets, said.

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"To be fair, I think traders are getting a bit exhausted of these event risks which are supposed to carry so much weight that they can alter the investment landscape." Equity markets have seen a spike in volatility since China suddenly devalued its yuan currency in August, triggering the largest quarterly selloff since 2011.

The turmoil in financial markets was a key factor the Fed held off raising near-zero interest rates in September, but investors still expect the hike to come before the end of the year.

The won declined 0.35 per cent against the US unit, while the Malaysian ringgit was down 0.29 per cent, the Singapore dollar fell 0.20 per cent, and the Thai baht lost 0.21 per cent.

Other Asia-Pacific currencies rose against the dollar: the 'Aussie' advanced 0.27 per cent to 70.49 US cents, the Indian rupee rose 0.11 per cent, the Taiwan dollar was up 0.07 percent and the Indonesian rupiah gained 0.10 per cent.

With the unemployment rate expected near seven-year lows, a strong reading in the unemployment figures will likely add to calls for the US central bank to start raising rates gradually, putting further pressure on emerging economies as investors take out their cash to seek better returns in the US.

AFP

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