The Labor Department, beating expectations of 180,000 by economists, announced that the U.S. economy added 271,000 jobs last month, the largest increase since December. As a result, the unemployment rate fell to a seven-and-a-half year low of 5.0%.
The rich data paved the way for the Fed to lift interest rates at its December meeting, a move that would make the dollar more engaging to yield-seeking investors.
On Wednesday, Fed Chair Janet Yellen testified that the U.S. economy was executed well, and that December would represent a “live possibility” for raising interest rates if upcoming economic data supported it.
Meanwhile, the U.S. dollar rose to two-and-a-half month highs against the yen, with USD/JPY up 1.16% to 123.15 late Friday, the highest since August 21. The pair ended the week with gains of 2.2%, the strongest weekly performance since December.
The U.S. dollar was also higher against the single currency and sterling pound. Euro fall to seven-month lows, with EUR/USD hitting a trough of 1.0708 before ending at 1.0740, off 1.31% for the day and sterling also fell to seven-month lows, with GBP/USD last down 1.01% at 1.5054. Earlier in the week, the sterling pound had already fallen more than 1% against the greenback, after the Bank of England on Thursday cut its forecasts for growth and inflation in 2015 and 2016, showing showing that rates are likely to remain on hold for a lengthened period.
Also, USD/CHF rose to 1.0076, the most since March 17 and was last up 1.1% at 1.0063.
The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was up 1.23% to 99.29 in late trade, the strongest level since April 15. The index ended the week with gains of 2.31%.
This week major market events are among other Friday’s U.S. data on retail sales, producer prices and consumer sentiment for fresh indications on the likelihood of a December rate hike.