Dollar falls further against euro

LONDON: The dollar weakened further against the euro on Monday as the market remained focused on the latest US jobs data and easing concerns over Greece's mountain of public debt, analysts said.

In morning deals here, the European single currency climbed to 1.3655 dollars from 1.3621 dollars late in New York on Friday.

Against the Japanese currency, the dollar dipped to 90.17 yen from 90.28 yen on Friday.

Investors sold the safe-haven dollar after the US government had on Friday reported fewer-than-expected job losses in February in the world's largest economy.

The euro was meanwhile well supported after Greece's parliament on Friday approved a new package of tough tax hikes and spending cuts to tackle the country's debt crisis, which has dented the single European currency.

"The euro was bought back because the European Commission is to approve ... Greece's measures to cut its public debt," said Mizuho Corporate Bank market economist Daisuke Karakama.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Sunday said that European governments were ready to help Greece pull itself out of its financial crisis if necessary.

Sarkozy said governments of the 16-nation eurozone were working on a "certain number of specific measures" to address Greece's debt crisis but did not provide details.

"Greece's efforts should make other European leaders more comfortable with supporting Greece," said Credit Agricole economist Sebastien Barbe.

However Citi foreign exchange analyst Michael Hart said "concerns surrounding Greece have likely only receded temporarily."

He added that "the medium term solvency issue remains as pressing as ever" and said the euro would "remain under pressure over coming months and drift towards 1.30" dollars.

The Labor Department meanwhile said on Friday that the US unemployment rate held steady at 9.7 percent in February.

The department said non-farm payroll employment fell by 36,000 jobs, surprising most analysts who estimated about 67,000 losses amid severe winter weather that crippled regions of the country.

Most economists had expected the unemployment rate to rise to 9.8 percent from 9.7 percent in January.

In London on Monday, the euro was changing hands at 1.3655 dollars against 1.3621 dollars on Friday, at 123.14 yen (122.94), 0.9009 pounds (0.8992) and 1.4630 Swiss francs (1.4631).

The dollar stood at 90.17 yen (90.28) and 1.0714 Swiss francs (1.0740).

The pound was at 1.5157 dollars (1.5139).

On the London Bullion Market, the price of gold edged higher to 1,135.75 dollars an ounce from 1,135 dollars an ounce on Friday.