Australia’s dollar rose against all 16 of its major counterparts as the statistics bureau said the number of people employed rose by 71,500 in February from the previous month, when it increased 13,100. That compared with a 10,000 increase estimated by economists in a Bloomberg survey.
“It’s a very strong employment number, and somewhat surprising given the challenges the Australian employment market is facing,” said Richard Grace, chief foreign-exchange strategist and head of international economics at Commonwealth Bank of Australia in Sydney. “The market that was primarily short the Australian dollar is now unwinding.”
Interest-rate swaps data compiled by Bloomberg show traders see a 7% chance the central bank will lower its benchmark to 2.75% at its next meeting on April 2. That’s down from 19% odds yesterday.
The Aussie rose 0.6% to $1.0355, after climbing to $1.0383, the strongest level since Feb. 6. The currency added 0.9% to 99.91 yen.
First-time U.S. jobless claims fell by 10,000 to 332,000 in the week ended March 9, the fewest since mid-January, according to data today from the Labor Department in Washington. The median forecast of 49 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for an increase to 350,000. The four-week average declined to a five-year low.
The Dollar Index, which Intercontinental Exchange Inc. uses to track the greenback against currencies of six U.S. trading partners, gained 0.2% to 83.024 after rising to the highest level since Aug. 3.
“The data that we’ve seen recently has been really surprising to the upside, and the U.S. dollar has been responding positively to that,” Gain Capital’s Viloria said.
Norway’s krone fell the most in three weeks against the euro after central bank Governor Oeystein Olsen said in a statement that “the key policy rate may be kept low for longer than previously anticipated.”
The Norges Bank kept its overnight deposit rate at 1.5% today, a decision that was forecast by all 16 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News.
The krone slumped 1.1% to 7.5223 per euro, the biggest decline since July 27.
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