Daily Afternoon Report 04.04.2016

The dollar pared gains against the other major currencies in quiet trade on Monday, re-approaching last week’s five-and-a-half month trough as Friday’s upbeat U.S. employment data failed to alter expectations that the Federal Reserve will hold off on any rate hikes for now.

USD/JPY slipped 0.16% to 111.53.

The Labor Department reported on Friday that the U.S. economy added 215,000 jobs last month, ahead of economists’ expectations for jobs growth of 205,000.

The unemployment rate ticked up to 5% from an eight-year low of 4.9% as more people entered the labor market.

Average hourly earnings rose by seven cents last month after falling two cents in February.

However, the upbeat data did little to alter expectations that the Fed will remain cautious about hiking interest rates this year.

EUR/USD was steady at 1.1386.

Eurostat reported that the euro zone’s unemployment rate fell to 10.3% last month from 10.4% in February, whose figure was revised up from 10.3%.

Analysts had expected the unemployment rate to remain unchanged at 10.3% in March.

The dollar was lower against the pound, with GBP/USD up 0.47% at 1.4290 and was little changed against the Swiss franc, with USD/CHF at 0.9589.

Data earlier showed that the Markit U.K. construction purchasing managers index came in at 54.2 last month, matching February’s 10 month low but above expectations of a dip to 54.0.

Meanwhile, the Australian and New Zealand dollars were weaker, with AUD/USD down 0.68% at 0.7629 and with NZD/USD declining 0.64% to 0.6854.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics said on Monday that building approvals increased by 3.1% in February, exceeding expectations for a 2.0% gain. Building approvals declined by 6.6% in January, whose figure was revised from a previously estimated 7.5% drop.

A separate report showed that Australia’s retail sales were flat in February, compared to expectations for a 0.4% rise, after an uptick of 0.3% in January.

USD/CAD added 0.18% to trade at 1.3035.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was steady at 94.59, after hitting highs of 94.83 earlier in the session and re-approaching last week’s five-and-a-half month low of 94.30.