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Dollar shrugs off weather beaten US private payroll data

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The dollar rallied on Wednesday, shrugging off a softer-than-expected U.S. private-sector payrolls report for February that may have been affected by severe winter conditions.

U.S. private employers added 139,000 jobs in February, lower than market expectations, and gains the previous month were revised downward, a report by a payrolls processor showed. Economists surveyed by Reuters had forecast the ADP National Employment Report would show a gain of 160,000 jobs.

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The dollar did tick lower in a knee-jerk reaction to the ADP data, but then moved back to where it was before the release of the report. Investors were also focused on the European Central Bank's monetary policy meeting on Thursday, which analysts expect will result in some form of policy easing to ward off deflationary risks in the euro zone. That expectation has led to weakness in the euro against the dollar.

The dollar's gains were also helped by losses in the yen, which fell for a second straight day as concerns over a Russia-Ukraine standoff eased. Markets, however, are keeping an eye on the region after Russia test-fired an intercontinental ballistic missile from a base not far from eastern Ukraine to a range in Kazakhstan.

The single currency was down 0.2 percent versus the dollar near $1.37, pulling back from Friday's two-month high of $1.3824.The euro was higher against the yen under 141 yen after gaining 0.8 percent on Tuesday, while the dollar rose 0.3 percent around 102 yen after posting its biggest one-day gain since mid-January a day earlier. The greenback was also up 0.2 percent against the Swiss franc at 0.89 franc.

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