Dollar Rebounds in Asia as Korea Eyed, U.s. Jobs Ahead

The dollar rebounded mildly in Asia on Friday and the Aussie gained after housing figures with events on the Korean Peninsula grabbing attention as the fate of the president of South Korea against a background of scandal with top chaebol Samsung (KS:005930) Group and tension with North Korea with U.S. jobs data later int he day to take center stage.

Attention in the region will be riveted on eight justices of the Constitutional Court in South Korea who will deliver a verdict on whether the impeachment of the President Park Geun-hye by the legislature will stand. The decision will be televised live with massive crowds expected to gather in Seoul. USD/KRW tarded at 1158.30, down 0.07%.

In a related case, the head of South Korea's Samsung Group, Jay Y. Lee has denied bribery and embezzlement charges at the start of what the special prosecutor said could be the "trial of the century" amid a political scandal that has rocked the country.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, rose to 101.91, up 0.06%.

In Australia, home loans data rose 0.5% in January, beating a 1.0% drop seen month-on-month. AUD/USD was quoted at 0.7507, up 0.04% in early trade. USD/JPY changed hands at 115.16, up 0.26%.

Overnight, the dollar dipped against a basket of major currencies on Thursday, after initial jobless claims missed expectations while the euro dipped back under $1.06.

The dollar slumped to a session of low of 101.70 weighed by a bullish euro and weaker than expected initial jobless claims. The European Central Bank (ECB) left rates and Asset purchases unchanged and dropped its pledge to use “all the instruments at its disposal” to stimulate growth and inflation. European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said “there is no longer that sense of urgency” for the ECB to use ultra-loose monetary policy to achieve its mandates.

Elsewhere initial jobless claims were greater than expected which heaped further pressure on the greenback. U.S. Department of Labor said Thursday, initial jobless claims increased by 20,000 to 243,000 in the week ending March 4 from the previous week’s total of 223,000. Analysts expected jobless claims to rise by 12,000 to 235,000 last week.

The softer initial jobless claims data came a day ahead of a key nonfarm payrolls report for February due to be released on Friday, with a gain of 190,000 jobs expected.

According to Investing.com’s Fed rate monitor tool, 90% of traders expect a rate hike in March, compared to just 80% of traders on Monday.