Tokyo -

The dollar was almost flat in Asian trade on Monday, holding on to last week's gains against the euro after Mario Draghi said the European Central Bank was ready to ease monetary policy soon.

The dollar fetched 101.96 yen in late morning trade in Tokyo, up slightly from 101.83 yen in New York on Friday.

The euro was quoted at $1.3756 and 140.26 yen, against $1.3758 and 140.10 yen.

On Monday, traders are watching a speech by ECB vice-president Vitor Constancio, among others “to see what kind of options are considered” inside the ECB, Shinichiro Kadota, a currency analyst at Barclays, said in a note to clients.

On Friday in New York, the dollar was up about two cents, to $1.3758 per euro, since Draghi's statement after the close of an ECB policy meeting on Thursday.

In a surprise departure from the bank's previous policy of never pre-committing on interest rate moves, Draghi said the monetary policy makers were now sufficiently concerned to take more action.

The governing council was “dissatisfied” with the current path of inflation and was “not prepared to accept it as a fact of nature”, Draghi said.

As a result, the governing council “is comfortable with acting next time”, he said.

But he added that “we want to see the staff's projections that will come up in early June”. - Sapa-AFP