Forex – Dollar holds onto modest gains with U.S. jobs data on tap

© Reuters. Dollar remains moderately higher vs. rivals ahead of U.S. data – The dollar held onto modest gains against the other major currencies on Friday, as investors were awaited the monthly U.S. nonfarm payrolls report due later in the day after a mixed batch of U.S. data on Thursday.

EUR/USD was almost unchanged at 1.1902.

The greenback initially weakened after data on Thursday showed that U.S. consumer spending rose slightly less than expected in July and annual inflation increased at its slowest pace since late 2015.

A separate report showed that U.S. pending home sales unexpectedly decreased last month.

On a more positive note, the U.S. Labor Department said initial jobless claims rose less than expected last week.

Meanwhile, sentiment on the euro remained fragile following recent reports that a growing number of European Central Bank officials are concerned by the recent strength of the currency.

GBP/USD held steady at 1.2920, as markets showed little reaction to data showing that UK manufacturing activity unexpectedly increased in August to a four-month high.

In other news, Michel Barnier, the European Union’s chief Brexit negotiator, said on Thursday that no “decisive progress” had been achieved after the third round of Brexit talks in Brussels.

The yen and the Swiss franc were weaker, with USD/JPY up 0.09% at 110.08 and with USD/CHF adding 0.19% to 0.9608, as safe-haven demand weakened despite fresh diplomatic turmoil between the U.S. and Russia

Fresh tensions emerged after the U.S. has told Russia to close its consulate in San Francisco and buildings in Washington and New York that house trade missions in retaliation for Moscow cutting the U.S. diplomatic presence in Russia.

The Australian and New Zealand dollars were lower, with AUD/USD down 0.20% at 0.7930 and with NZD/USD shedding 0.31% to 0.7155, just off the previous session’s nearly three-month low of 0.7132.

Meanwhile, USD/CAD held steady at 1.2482.

Investors also continued to follow developments in the U.S. oil market as the Gulf Coast struggles to get gasoline flowing as refineries remain shut.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was up 0.08% at 92.66 by 05:20 a.m. ET (09:20 GMT).

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