Daily Afternoon Report 03.05.2017

The dollar held onto gains against other major currencies on Wednesday, after the release of upbeat U.S. employment data, although investors remained cautious ahead of the Federal Reserve’s monthly policy decision due later in the day.

Payroll processing firm ADP said non-farm private employment rose by 177,000 last month, just above forecasts for an increase of 175,000. The economy created 255,000 jobs in March, down from a previously reported increase of 263,000.

Later Wednesday, the Fed was widely expected to hold interest rates, but investors were awaiting any potential hints on the pace of future rate hikes.

EUR/USD slipped 0.12% to 1.0917.

Sentiment on the euro remained vulnerable ahead of the second round of the French presidential election on Sunday.

Centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron and his far-right opponent Marine Le Pen were to face each other in a final televised debate on Wednesday evening.

Earlier in the day, Eurostat said the euro zone’s gross domestic product rose 0.5% in the first quarter, matching growth registered in the preceding quarter and in line with forecasts.

Year-on-year, GDP in the single currency bloc rose 1.7% in the first quarter, matching expectations.

GBP/USD edged down 0.11% to 1.2925 even as research group Markit said its U.K. construction purchasing managers’ index rose to 53.1 last month from March’s reading of 52.2. Economists had expected the index to slip to 52.0 in April.

USD/JPY added 0.12% to 112.13, while USD/CHF edged down 0.16% to 0.9901.

The Australian and New Zealand dollars were weaker, with AUD/USD down 0.80% at 0.7475 and with NZD/USD slipping 0.14% to 0.6926.

Statistics New Zealand reported on Wednesday that the number of employed people rose by 1.2% in the first quarter, beating expectations for a 0.8% gain and after an increase of 0.8% in the three months to December.

The unemployment rate ticked down to 4.9% in the first quarter from 5.2% in the previous quarter, confounding expectations for an unchanged reading.

Meanwhile, USD/CAD held steady at 1.3723, just off Tuesday’s 15-month peak of 1.3759.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was up 0.13% at 98.91.