* Dollar index near 8-month low
* Tuesday’s US payrolls data in focus
* Euro within sight of 2013 high
* Dollar/yen in triangle holding pattern
By Hideyuki Sano
TOKYO, Oct 21 (Reuters) - The dollar was mired near an 8-month low against a basket of currencies on Monday on growing expectations the U.S. Federal Reserve will have to delay scaling back its stimulus following a 16-day government shutdown.
The dollar index was little moved in Asian trade around 79.642 , but not far from a trough of 79.478 touched on Friday, its lowest level since February.
“In the last two months, previous payrolls figures were revised down. The U.S. economy is losing steam and cannot withstand tapering,” said Daisuke Uno, chief strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui Bank.
“There will be disappointment at every Fed meeting for the rest of the year, and each time the dollar will weaken,” he added.
The Fed has two policy meetings scheduled this year, one on Oct 29-30 and the other on Dec 17-18.
A majority of market players now expect the Fed will begin reducing stimulus next year, though some analysts believe tapering of the bond buying programme is still possible in December.
Expectations of a delay in reducing the Fed’s stimulus is likely to strengthen unless a run of upcoming U.S. data shows that the economy somehow gained momentum despite the disruption caused by the government shutdown.
Traders are now looking to September U.S. payrolls due on Tuesday, with the market forecasting a jobs gain of 180,000, although the data will shed little light on the impact of the policy paralysis in Washington.
The euro fetched $1.3683 in early trade, having risen as high as $1.3703 on Friday, almost touching this year’s peak of $1.3711.
The common currency held not far from its four-year peak against the yen at 134.95 yen hit last month, trading at 133.92 yen.
In contrast, the dollar was on the defensive against the yen, trading at 97.86 yen, off last week’s high of 99.00 yen.
The dollar/yen pair has been in a triangle holding pattern after hitting a five-year high around 103.73 yen in May as yen-selling propelled by the Bank of Japan’s aggressive monetary easing has run its course.
Many traders expect the dollar to remain in this holding pattern for the moment, though the risks for the greenback could grow if it breaks below its key 200-day moving average, currently at 97.17.
The Australian dollar stood near four-month highs as the currency benefitted from rising risk appetite after U.S. lawmakers struck a deal to avert a U.S. debt default last week.
The Aussie changed hands at $0.9660, near Friday’s four-month high of $0.9680.