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Dollar steady against yen and euro after new US jobs report inspires optimism

TOKYO -- The dollar was steady against the yen and euro in Asia Friday after it rallied on an encouraging U.S. jobs report that pointed to a stronger economy and a possible early interest rate hike.

In Tokyo afternoon trading, the greenback fetched 102.08 yen, down from 102.20 yen in New York but still well up from 101.88 yen in Tokyo earlier Thursday.

The euro bought US$1.3610 and 138.89 yen, against US$1.3609 and 139.09 yen in U.S. trade, after the European Central Bank (ECB) held interest rates unchanged at its policy meeting Thursday.

The dollar was mixed against other Asia-Pacific currencies.

It weakened to SG$1.2467 from SG$1.2484 on Thursday, to 11,886.50 Indonesian rupiah from 11,951.30 rupiah and to 43.55 Philippines pesos from 43.64 pesos.

The greenback also fell to 32.38 Thai baht from 32.40 baht and to 1,008.75 South Korean won from 1,009.21 won, but it rose to 59.70 Indian rupees from 59.66 rupees while it was unchanged at NT$29.87.

The Australian dollar eased to 93.63 U.S. cents from 93.75 cents, while the Chinese yuan traded at 16.44 yen against 16.39 yen.

On Thursday the U.S. Labor Department said the world's number one economy added 288,000 jobs last month, while the unemployment rate fell to 6.1 percent from 6.3 percent in May.

The closely watched figures were well above expectations of 215,000 and boosted hopes a recovery is well on track.

Analysts also said the strong data could see the Federal Reserve increase interest rates sooner rather than later.

The U.S. central bank has said it wants to make sure economic growth is sound and the jobs market is strong enough before it puts borrowing rates up, previously pointing to mid-2015 at the earliest.

Higher rates tend to attract dollar buying from investors looking for richer returns.

“Overall, the labor market is meeting the Fed's targets early and continues to show a sustained, and now robust, improvement,” National Australia Bank said.

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