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The dollar gained, recovering from an almost postwar low against the yen, after U.S. employers added more jobs than forecast, damping speculation the Federal Reserve will add another round of asset purchases to spur growth. Nonfarm payrolls rose by 243,000, after a revised 203,000 gain in December, the Labor Department reported today in Washington. The unemployment rate fell to 8.3 percent. Data this year have signaled the U.S. economy is recovering at a quickening pace. Manufacturing grew in January at the fastest pace in seven months, the Institute for Supply Management reported Feb. 1. Consumer confidence rose last month to the highest level in almost a year, according to a Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan index published Jan. 27.
The Japanese currency dropped, after trading within one yen of its post-World War II high versus the dollar, reducing speculation the nation will intervene in the currency market to stem its appreciation. Japan’s Finance Minister Jun Azumi has said he will take decisive steps against one-sided moves in the yen if needed. The currency’s level doesn’t reflect economic fundamentals, and falling U.S. interest rates are increasing speculative yen buying, he told reporters in Tokyo.
The euro erased losses after the European Central Bank was said to be considering using its bond holdings to bolster Greece’s next rescue program and support efforts to contain the sovereign-debt crisis, according to three euro-region officials. The 17-nation shared currency headed for a weekly decline against 15 of its 16 most-traded peers as finance ministers from the euro region’s top-rated countries, meeting in Berlin, didn’t discuss a higher public sector contribution to a second aid program for Greece, reflecting reluctance to place bigger burdens on their taxpayers.
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