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Dollar mixed ahead of January jobs report

The dollar was mixed on Thursday ahead of a US jobs report that could shed light on the health of the US economic recovery as the Federal Reserve reduces stimulus.

NEW YORK: The dollar was mixed on Thursday ahead of a US jobs report that could shed light on the health of the US economic recovery as the Federal Reserve reduces stimulus.

The euro scored broad gains after the European Central Bank held its key interest rates steady and downplayed risks of damaging deflation in the eurozone.

"If the ECB is holding tight, maybe it means the situation is not so dramatic" and recovery in Europe is still under way, said Alexandre Baradez, analyst at IG brokerage.

The euro bought $1.3591 around 2200 GMT, up from $1.3533 late Wednesday.

The common European currency advanced to 138.79 yen from 137.30 yen.

The dollar also made headway against the Japanese currency, fetching 102.10 yen compared with 101.45 yen the prior day.

The US Labour Department's report of January data on job creation and unemployment early Friday "could make or break the greenback," said Kathy Lien of BK Asset Management.

An abysmal December jobs report published in early January sent the dollar reeling. Market hopes are high that the shockingly low 74,000 jobs generated in December were a blip due to severe winter weather.

Economists are predicting 175,000 jobs were added in January and the unemployment would remain unchanged at 6.7 percent.

Lien noted that Thursday's strong US equities gains, a rally in risk currencies and an uptick in Treasury bond yields point to investor expectations for a solid jobs report, adding she was among those seeing job numbers rebounding.

"If they don't, the US economy is in big trouble and (new Fed chair) Janet Yellen's credibility will come under serious scrutiny," she said. "There's a risk that the increase will fall short of expectations, driving the dollar sharply lower."

Yellen, who took the helm of the central bank on February 1, is in the spotlight as she guides the Fed's exit from its massive stimulus begun under her predecessor Ben Bernanke.

The pound, meanwhile, firmed against the dollar after the Bank of England held its record-low main interest rate steady. Sterling bought $1.6323, up from $1.6308 late Wednesday.

The dollar slipped to 0.9004 Swiss franc from 0.9035 franc.

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