Investing.com - The dollar firmed against most major currencies on Friday after the U.S. government reported that hiring took place at a much faster pace in February than expected, which sent investors chasing dollar positions on sentiments monetary stimulus measures may expire soon.
In U.S. trading on Friday, EUR/USD was down 0.82% at 1.3001.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported earlier that U.S. economy added 236,000 nonfarm payrolls in February, way more than an expected 160,000 increase and up above 119,000 reported in January.
The U.S. private sector added 246,000 jobs, beating expectations for a 167,000 increase, following January's 140,000 rise.
The headline unemployment rate fell to 7.7% in February from 7.9% in January, beating analysts' calls for the rate to remain unchanged.
The data came a day after the Department of Labor said that the number of individuals filing for initial jobless benefits fell by 7,000 to 340,000 last week, defying expectations for an increase of 8,000 to 355,000.
The numbers sparked heavy demand for dollars on sentiment the Federal Reserve will wind down stimulus programs designed to create job demand by flooding the economy with liquidity to encourage investing.
The Fed is currently running a USD85 billion monthly bond-buying program known as quantitative easing, which weakens the dollar as a side effect, and Friday's jobs report stoked sentiments that such programs may wrap up sooner rather than later.
Meanwhile in Europe, Germany's official industrial production rate came in flat for January, missing expectations for a 0.5% rise and well below a 0.6% increase the previous month.
Elsewhere, China reported that its trade surplus narrowed in February, coming in at USD15.3 billion from a USD29.2 surplus the previous month.
Analysts had expected the trade balance to fall into a deficit of USD8.8 billion last month.
The greenback, meanwhile, was up against the pound, with GBP/USD trading down 0.60% at 1.4925.
The dollar firmed against the yen, with USD/JPY trading up 1.27% at 96.03 after hitting highs not seen since August of 2009, and was up against the Swiss franc, with USD/CHF trading up 0.95% at 0.9516.
The dollar was mixed against its cousins in Canada, Australia and New Zealand, with USD/CAD down 0.01% at 1.0292, AUD/USD down 0.31% at 1.0236 and NZD/USD trading down 0.91% at 0.8209.
The dollar index, which tracks the performance of the greenback versus a basket of six other major currencies, was up 0.79% at 82.77.