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Non-Farm Payrolls only 98K, wages 2.7% y/y – USD falls

Very weak jobs report: only 98K jobs gained, much worse than expected. This comes on top of a downwards revision. Wages are up 0.2% m/m and 2.7% y/y. 38K jobs were lost in revisions. But the unemployment rate is down to 4.5%, better than expected and with a stable participation rate at 63%. Also the U-6 underemployment rate is falling nicely to 8.9%, so  there are silver linings in this NFP.

One interpretation is that the US economy nears full employment. In such an environment, job gains slow down as there are less available employees to hire, but their wages rise.  Looking at the chances for a rate hike in June, these are down from 70% to 61%: lower, but still pointing to a raise in rates.

The US dollar is falling but after the initial fall, the silver linings emerge and the dollar stabilizes.

Analysis:  NFP: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

The United States was expected to report a gain of around 180K jobs in the month of March. Wages were predicted to rise by 0.2% m/m and the unemployment rate was expected to remain unchanged at 4.7%.

Currencies were stuck in ranges ahead of the publication, with a significant distraction from the US airstrikes in Syria.

The preview: trading the NFP with EUR/USD

March 2017 NFP Data (updated)

  • Non-Farm Payrolls:  Only 98K  (exp. +180K, last 235K before revisions)
  • Average Hourly Earnings 0.2% m/m, 2.7% y/y  (exp. +0.2% m/m, last month 0.2% m/m, 2.8% y/y)
  • Revisions: -39K, with February revised down to 219K    (+9K  last time).
  • Participation Rate: 63%    (63% last month )
  • Unemployment Rate: 4.5%      (exp.4.7%,  last month 4.7%)
  • Private Sector: 89K  (ADP showed 263K).
  • Real Unemployment Rate (U-6): 8.9%    (previous: 9.2%).
  • Employment to population ratio: 60.1%  (previous: 60%)
  • Average  workweek: 34.3  (last month: 34.4).

NFP Currency Reaction – USD is down

  • EUR/USD  was around 1.0630, marking a triple bottom on Draghi’s dovishness. EUR/USD escapes support at 1.0630, rising to  1.0666 before slipping back to 1.0640.
  • GBP/USD  was  trading lower, around 1.2430. Weak trade balance data hurt the pound,  offsetting a strong services sector report. Cable is up to 1.2450.
  • USD/JPY reacted to the airstrikes in Syria  with a drop towards 110 but jumped from there. The pair got closer to 110, hitting a low of 110.09. This is a tough nut to crack.
  • USD/CAD traded  just under 1.34,  with the Canadian dollar enjoying stronger oil prices.  At the same time, Canada published its own jobs report. Canada’s jobs report beat expectations  and USD/CAD is down to 1.3360.
  • AUD/USD traded around 0.7520, at the lower end of the range. There is no material change here.
  • NZD/USD traded under 0.70, hugging the round level. The kiwi  has not moved too much.

Yohay Elam

Yohay Elam

Yohay Elam: Founder, Writer and Editor I have been into forex trading for over 5 years, and I share the experience that I have and the knowledge that I've accumulated. After taking a short course about forex. Like many forex traders, I've earned a significant share of my knowledge the hard way. Macroeconomics, the impact of news on the ever-moving currency markets and trading psychology have always fascinated me. Before founding Forex Crunch, I've worked as a programmer in various hi-tech companies. I have a B. Sc. in Computer Science from Ben Gurion University. Given this background, forex software has a relatively bigger share in the posts.