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    Greenback strengthens on upbeat U.S. jobs data

    The dollar gained ground against its other major rivals on Friday, following the release of data showing that the U.S. added more jobs than anticipated in February, boosting optimism over the health of the U.S. economy.
    The U.S. Labor Department reported that the world’s largest economy add 242.000 jobs last month, surpassing expectations for a rise of 190.000. In January, the U.S. added 172.000 new jobs, a figure that was upwardly revised from a previously estimated gain of 151.000.
    The U.S. unemployment rate did not mark any change, remaining at 4.9% in February, according to expectations. The statistics also indicated that average hourly earnings slid 0.1% last month, below forecasts for a 0.2% increase, following a rise of 0.5% in January.
    The report also revealed that the trade deficit in the U.S. widened to $45.68 billion in January, compared to an upwardly revised reading of $44.70 billion a month before. The median estimate forecasted the trade deficit to reach $44.00 billion in the reported month.
    In the aftermath of the reports, the euro fell 0.34% against the dollar to trade at 1.0923. The dollar also rose against the Japanese yen, with USD/JPY gaining 0.33% to 114.05, while demand for yen continued to weaken, as oil prices ticked above $35 a barrel, as worries over a global supply excess are beginning to dissolve.
    The greenback was also higher against the sterling and the Swiss franc, with GBP/USD losing 0.44% at 1.4113 and USD/CHF gaining 0.53% to 0.9973.
    Elsewhere, the Australian and New Zealand dollars remained higher, with AUD/USD climbing 0.57% at 0.7393 and with NZD/USD rising 0.42% to 0.6753. A report released earlier in the day, revealed that retail sales in Australia increased 0.3% in January, below anticipations for a 0.4% rise and following an unchanged reading in December.
    Meanwhile, the U.S. dollar was higher against its Canadian counterpart, with USD/CAD rising 0.11% to 1.3422, after a report from Canada showed that the trade deficit narrowed to C$0.66 billion in January from C$0.63 billion in December. Economists anticipated the trade deficit to widen to C$1.05 billion in the reported month.
    The U.S. dollar, which tracks the dollar’s performance against a group of six other counterparts, was higher 0.35% at 97.94.

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