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Dollar steadies after week of falls

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LONDON — The dollar recovered slightly on Friday but was still heading for its softest week of the year after surprisingly weak U.S. jobs figures the previous day and ongoing loose Federal Reserve policy prompted investors to trim their bets.

The greenback is on track for a nearly 1% weekly fall against a basket of major currencies, although it edged up a quarter of a percent on the day.

The euro and yen are poised for their largest weekly percentage gains of the year, around 1% up each.

“In short, the energy has gone out of the dollar’s first-quarter rebound, just as it has gone out of the bond sell-off,” said Kit Juckes, head of FX strategy at Societe Generale.

The pause in the dollar’s rally follows a solid rebound over the first quarter after the greenback’s softest year since 2017.

However, after a run of strong U.S. data, Thursday figures showed U.S. unemployment claims unexpectedly rose.

Fed chair Jerome Powell also signaled at an economic forum on Thursday that the central bank plans to keep monetary policy super-easy.

The euro fell a quarter of a percent against the dollar on the day after mixed economic data from Germany, showing a rise in exports in February but a surprise fall in industrial output in separate releases.

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The Australian and New Zealand dollars were among the currencies to lose ground and were both down around 0.5% on the day against the dollar. Analysts at MUFG said in a note the moves had no clear macro trigger, but a financial stability report from Australia’s central bank indicating it would refrain from monetary policy action to tackle growing lending risk may have pressured the Aussie.

Sterling was also on track for its biggest weekly loss of the year and was down around a fifth of a percent on the day.

(Reporting by Iain Withers, Additional reporting by Tom Westbrook in Singapore; editing by Barbara Lewis)