US dollar mixed

February 10, 2014

Tokyo (Feb 10)   The dollar inched up in Asia Monday after a disappointing US jobs report fuelled questions about the pace of the Federal Reserve's stimulus taper.

The greenback rose slightly to 102.34 yen in afternoon Tokyo trade, from 102.30 yen in New York Friday.

The euro weakened to $1.3624 and 139.48 yen, from $1.3637 and 139.52 yen.

Data Friday showed the US economy added 113,000 jobs last month, well below expectations of 175,000 although the unemployment rate slipped to 6.6 percent from 6.7 percent.

The weaker-than-expected figures sparked concerns of a slump in the economy, coming after dismal numbers in December, and raised speculation that the Fed could take its foot off the pedal in winding down its bond-buying scheme.

“The headline change in employment was weaker than expected, but the unemployment rate fell,” National Australia Bank said.

“US employment tends to be a large market moving event, but the confusing set of numbers being released more recently, and the Fed's insistent tapering mantra, lessened the impact of the January data.”

Eyes will now be on Janet Yellen's first official appearance as Federal Reserve boss in the US Congress on Tuesday.

“While there is likely to be little change to the Fed's policy outlook there will need to be some reassessment of the Fed's forward guidance, especially given the surprisingly quick drop in the unemployment rate,” Credit Agricole said.

This week, investors will be looking to US retail sales as well as data on factory output and consumer confidence while in Europe the focus will be on fourth-quarter eurozone economic growth.

European Central Bank (ECB) chief Mario Draghi has doused expectations of an imminent rate cut, saying the eurozone is not experiencing deflation despite weak price rises in recent months.

The yen, seen as a safe haven in times of turmoil, has won support after a global stock market rout last week spooked investors ahead of Friday's jobs data.

Japan's current account surplus - its broadest measure of trade with the rest of the world - shrank to a record low in 2013 as a weak yen bloated the country's post-Fukushima energy bills, according to figures published Monday.

The dollar was mostly lower against other Asia-Pacific currencies.

It slipped to 12,157 Indonesian rupiah from 12,173 rupiah on Friday, to Sg$1.2683 from Sg$1.2684, to 62.15 Indian rupees from 62.35 rupees and to 1,071.85 South Korean won from 1,075.55 won.

The greenback also declined to 44.94 Philippine pesos from 45.09 pesos and to 32.79 Thai baht from 32.81 while it was flat at Tw$30.29.

(Source: IOL)

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