Dollar jumps in Asia on hopes for US jobs

The dollar rose to three-and-a-half-year high against the yen in Asia Friday as dealers grow confident of encouraging results from key US jobs data due later in the global day.

The greenback climbed to 95.30 yen in Tokyo -- its strongest since August 2009 -- from 94.83 yen in New York late Thursday, while the euro dipped to $1.3095 in Tokyo morning trade against $1.3107.

The single currency was also buying 124.82 yen, compared with 124.28 yen.

A senior dealer at a major European bank said the focus was on US payroll and jobless figures due later.

"Strong readings will push (the dollar) higher," he said.

The US government said Thursday that new claims for US unemployment benefits fell last week to 340,000, boosting confidence that Friday's much-watched US jobless data would be strong, analysts say.

That came a day after data from payrolls firm ADP showed the private sector piled on 198,000 jobs last month, better than the average of the past six months.

Investors are moving out of the the yen, considered a safe haven in times of uncertainty, as they grow more confident in the global economic outlook.

"There are many who want to sell the yen amid this risk-on environment," the senior dealer told Dow Jones Newswires.

Traders are also selling the unit in anticipation of more aggressive monetary easing from the Bank of Japan, which will likely be headed at its next rate-setting meeting in April by Haruhiko Kuroda an advocate of such policies.

The central bank left its policy unchanged on Thursday, the last meeting for current governor Masaaki Shirakawa.

Kuroda, a finance veteran, has in the past criticised the BoJ for not doing enough to boost the world's number three economy and is a supporter of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's plan of ratcheting up spending to drive growth.

The euro extended its gains seen in New York on Thursday after the European Central Bank decided not to cut interest rates as expected.

The ECB left interest rates unchanged at a record low 0.75 percent, although its head Mario Draghi said the board had considered a cut.