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Dollar climbs to two-month high

JIJI

The dollar climbed above ¥104 at one point in Tokyo trading Thursday, breaching that threshold for the first time since Jan. 23, with optimism about the U.S. economy growing ahead of Friday’s key nonfarm payroll data.

At 5 p.m., the dollar stood at ¥103.89-91, moderately up from ¥103.80-81 at the same time Wednesday. The euro was at $1.3762-3763, down from $1.3802-3802, and at ¥143.00-01, down from ¥143.27-29.

The greenback took a brief jump slightly over the ¥104 line, but for the rest of the day the U.S. unit was stuck in a narrow range just below that mark.

“A sense of achievement brought traders back to wait-and-see attitudes,” an official at a major Japanese bank said.

In addition to the U.S. government’s upcoming employment report for March, a policy-setting meeting of the European Central Bank later Thursday enhanced the wait-and-see mood, traders said.

“Now is not the time to chase the market higher, as the dollar has gained considerable ground (on the yen) in recent sessions,” an official at a foreign-affiliated securities firm said.

As a precursor to Friday’s government jobs report, Automatic Data Processing Inc.’s private-sector jobs data showed solid readings Wednesday.

In the ADP data, growth in U.S. nonfarm payrolls in March came to 191,000, a bit weaker than expected, as the increase in February was revised to 178,000 from 139,000.

“Selling of the dollar is held in check, on hopes for improved U.S. jobs data, as well as expectations that the dollar will extend gains now that it has risen out of its recent range,” another bank official said.