Dollar mixed in Asian trade

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Tokyo - The dollar was mixed in Asia on Monday after a disappointing US jobs report fuelled questions about the pace of the Federal Reserve's stimulus taper.

The greenback rose slightly to 102.36 yen in late morning Tokyo trade, from 102.30 yen in New York on Friday.

The euro weakened to $1.3622 and 139.44 yen, from $1.3637 and 139.52 yen.

Data on 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 peddle 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 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 on Monday. - AFP


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