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The dollar fell to its lowest against the yen in more than two weeks on Thursday, weighed down by uncertainty over whether the U.S. Federal Reserve will raise interest rates this summer and a loss of risk appetite from investors as oil and world stock prices fell.
A weaker-than-expected ADP National Employment Report showed private payrolls increased by 173,000 last month, missing estimates of 175,000 new jobs expected by economists surveyed by Reuters. That helped trim expectations the Fed would raise U.S. overnight interest rates at its upcoming policy meeting, as the ADP report reduced expectations for Friday's U.S. non-farm payrolls report, analysts said.
Fed funds futures show traders now see only a 17 percent chance the U.S. central bank will raise rates when it next meets on June 14-15, according to CME Group's FedWatch tool.
"I just don't think that we have the strength in the economy to support a rate hike at this point," said Fabian Eliasson, vice president for currency sales at Mizuho Corporate Bank in New York. "If you look into the futures (rates) that's what they're telling us."
The dollar hit its lowest since May 16 against the yen at 108.5 yen, before holding 0.59 percent lower at 108.8 yen. That level was 2.5 percent down from a one-month high of 111.45 yen set on Monday.
The dollar's fall against the yen on Thursday was compounded by a flight to safety as oil prices fell 1 percent and U.S. stocks opened lower following Japan's Nikkei index, which dropped 2.3 percent overnight.
The move lower in equities and oil led to a "risk-averse undertone to the market that's keeping the yen supported," said Scotia Capital currency strategist Shaun Osborne.
The dollar rose modestly against the euro after a European Central Bank news conference during which ECB President Mario Draghi said the bank made only marginal upward adjustments to its growth projections.
The ECB edged up its inflation forecast for 2016 but predicted price growth would remain below target through 2018 as it struggles with cheap energy feeding into the price of other goods and services.
The euro fell 0.3 percent to $1.115 after the news conference, which followed the ECB's announcement that it would keep interest rates unchanged, as expected, with the deposit rate remaining at its historic low of -0.4 percent.
The dollar index, which tracks the greenback against six major world currencies, was little changed from late Wednesday at 95.55.