The euro slid against the dollar Friday as U.S. data showed a slight increase in new jobs, while the British pound dropped to new 19-month lows following the terrorist attacks on London.
The 12-nation euro briefly fell to a new 13 1/2-month low following the release of the U.S. data, although the nonfarm payrolls figures fell short of expectations. The euro dropped to $1.1874, its lowest level since May 17, 2004, before climbing back to $1.1936 in late trading — still short of its $1.1945 level in New York late Thursday.
The pound fell as London began its recovery from Thursday’s bombings. In late New York trading, the pound fell to $1.7333 — down from $1.7425 late Thursday.
The dollar also gained against the Japanese currency, rising to 112.23 yen from 112.01 yen. It briefly reached 112.60 yen, above its July 29, 2004, level of 112.49 yen.
The U.S. currency initially wobbled against the euro following the London attacks, but quickly regained ground.
The U.S. gain of 146,000 jobs in June — up from 104,000 in May, but well short of economists’ forecast of around 195,000 — failed to seriously dent optimism about the U.S. economy that has propelled the currency higher in recent weeks.
The figures were “not good,” but also not bad enough to change expectations about the Federal Reserve’s interest rate policy, said Carsten Fritsch, a currency strategist with Commerzbank in Frankfurt.
A string of rate increases by the Fed over recent months — and expectations of more — have helped the dollar recently.
However, markets are anticipating that the Bank of England will soon move to cut its own rates — a fear compounded by the attacks, which “could weigh in particular on the British economy,” Fritsch said.
Overall, currency traders showed little concern about long-term economic fallout from Thursday’s London blasts.
“The initial reaction was to shrink any risk exposure as much as possible. Now we have a clearer idea of what the casualties are, (so) unless we have another terrorist attack, this issue will probably fade away and we’ll be back to the economic fundamentals story,” said Ichiro Ikeda, vice president of the Global Currency and Commodity Group at JP Morgan Chase in Tokyo.