Traders reduced bets that the Federal Reserve will cut the target lending rate by a half-percentage point this month as Chairman Ben S. Bernanke prepared to testify before Congress today on the economy. The South African rand and the Norwegian krone were two of the best performers against the dollar among the major currencies as gold gained for the first time in five days and crude oil recovered from a one-week low.
The dollar rose almost 0.1 percent to $1.5606 per euro at 9:10 a.m. in New York, from $1.5614 yesterday. It rose 0.6 percent to 102.48 yen, from 101.85 yesterday, after touching 102.53, the highest level since March 12. The euro increased 0.4 percent to 159.68 yen, from 158.99.
Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, in an interview today with Bloomberg Television after meetings with Chinese officials in Beijing, praised China for the pace of the yuan's gains. The currency has advanced more than 5 percent versus the dollar since his visit to China in December, and is up 18 percent since the Chinese abandoned a strict peg in July 2005.
U.S. employers added 8,000 jobs in March, after shedding a revised 18,000 the previous month, ADP Employer Services said in its monthly employment report. The median forecast of 24 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News was for 45,000 fewer jobs.
Traders see 86 percent odds the Fed will cut the 2.25 percent benchmark lending rate by a quarter-percentage point at its next meeting April 30, according to futures contracts on the Chicago Board of Trade. The odds of a cut of a half-percentage point are 14 percent, compared with 36 percent a week ago.