London - World stocks and the dollar saw cautious starts on Monday to a week that will that provide readings on the health of the US jobs market, China's economy and Europe's efforts to kick-start inflation.
Asian shares were flat overnight following an uninspiring end to last week from Wall Street. Europe's main bourses dipped early on as a 10 percent slump in miner Glencore the collapse of takeover talks for Vodafone added to the subdued mood.
Spanish financial markets rallied after secessionists in Catalonia on Sunday won a majority of seats in parliament but were not seen to have a clear mandate to push for independence, but with so many global issues swirling this week it was little more than a side show.
Following a further delay to the US Federal Reserve's long-awaited first interest rate rise in almost a decade, markets were already looking to Friday's non-farm payrolls for any insight on whether rates might still rise this year.
With that uncertainty checking risk appetite, the world's major currencies were largely treading water though the dollar was keeping the squeeze on the more strained of its emerging market counterparts.
“The tension will rise as we get towards Friday because it will have implications for what the Fed does and that is all anybody cares about at the moment,” said David Bloom, an FX strategist at HSBC in London.
The dollar fetched 120.23 yen after edging up to a two-week high of 121.24 on Friday while the euro was steady at $1.1185 after shedding 0.3 percent overnight.
Several Fed officials are scheduled to speak this week, keeping the focus firmly on US monetary policy after strong second quarter US GDP data released on Friday had sharpened the case for a 2015 hike.
The lacklustre mood in equity markets spilled over to commodities, and US crude oil futures lost 0.8 percent to $45.31 a barrel while Brent crude lost 0.6 percent to $48.27 a barrel.
With Thursday's business sentiment data from China also in the spotlight, copper edged higher but remained near a 6-1/2 year low at $5,058.00 a ton.
Gold also suffered a small slip as it fell to $1,144.45 an ounce while platinum, which has been hammered by the Volkswagen emissions scandal as it is used in catalytic converters, also sagged back towards a 6-1/2-year low.
“The recoveries we've seen over the past couple of months, have been pretty short-lived,” said strategist Daniel Hynes of ANZ in Sydney.
“It highlights the increasing cautiousness around China's growth and what it means for copper despite what the supply side is doing. The PMI will be pretty key this week.”
Emerging markets remained a key pressure point due to the fears that US interest rates could soon start heading higher at a time when global growth remains distinctly lacklustre.
The Malaysian ringgit hit a 17-year low, dogged by concerns over the risk of more outflows from Malaysian bonds, while month-end dollar buying also weighed on the Indonesian rupiah.
Brazil's battered real however was steady in European trading after last week's promise from the country's central bank to use every weapon at its disposal to defend the currency.