US jobs report boosts dollar

NEW YORK (AFP) - A strong June US jobs report pushed the dollar higher against most major currencies on Thursday as it bolstered expectations that the Federal Reserve could hike interest rates earlier than planned in 2015.

Leaving behind the first-quarter contraction, the economy pumped out a much better-than-expected 288,000 net new jobs last month, driving the unemployment rate down to 6.1 per cent.

The data shored up confidence in economic growth and also, for some analysts, moved forward expectations for the Fed's first interest rate hike since the recession.

The Fed, concerned that growth is still weak and the jobs market continues to slack, has consistently pointed to mid-2015 at the earliest to lift its federal funds rate up from near-zero.

"We are firmly of the view that the Fed will have to raise rates much faster than they or the markets expect," said Ian Shepherdson at Pantheon Macroeconomics.

Treasury bond yields jumped as traders adjusted their medium-term expectations.

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