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USA suprises

07 November 2004 Angelo Coppola

The rand lost ground on Friday after surprisingly strong US jobs data which raised the prospects of more aggressive monetary tightening in the world's biggest economy.

RMB AM and Business Day report that the dollar rose across the board after the widely watched US October employment report.

The euro fell to session lows around $1,2761 shortly after the release of the US data, from about $1,2850 prior to the report.

This in turn pressured the rand, which extended earlier losses to weaken as far as R6,21 a dollar versus R6,16 a dollar just before the release of the data. The rand then regained some ground to trade at R6,16 a dollar.

The dollar plumbed record lows against the euro as traders and investors ignored robust US jobs data to focus on the persistent danger from gaping US fiscal deficits.

The dollar initially rallied on news that jobs were added to the US economy at a healthy pace in October, but then quickly turned lower as traders took advantage of the currency's higher price to resume selling aggressively.

The euro was trading at $1,2972 late afternoon and, even more telling, the dollar index, a measure of the dollar against a basket of currencies, fell to a new nine-year low.

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