* Yen at near-one-month highs versus dollar, euro
* Aussie hits one-month high, Kiwi at near-two-month high
* Canadian dollar falls again after jobs data
By Laurence Fletcher
LONDON, Jan 13 The dollar tumbled to its lowest
in almost a month against the yen on Monday, as investors caught
out by Friday's soft U.S. jobs data reassessed how quickly the
Federal Reserve might scale back its stimulus.
The dollar's weakness also helped push the Australian dollar
to a one-month high and the New Zealand dollar to a
near-two-month high against the greenback.
The U.S. dollar slid 0.7 percent to 103.37 yen, having
fallen to 103.26 at one point, its lowest level since
Dec. 18. The greenback's losses accelerated after it breached
Friday's intraday low of 103.83 yen.
Dollar/yen was one of the strongest-performing major
currency pairs last year and many hedge funds have been betting
the trend will continue as the Fed cuts back its huge
bond-buying programme and on expectations the Bank of Japan will
provide even more stimulus this year.
But many traders were taken by surprise by the U.S. non-farm
payrolls data, which showed a rise of 74,000, well short of the
196,000 analysts had expected.
"People have come into this year with very strong
pre-conceived ideas of what's going to happen," said Paul
Chappell, CIO of UK-based hedge fund firm C-View, pointing to
consensus bets on dollar strength and emerging market currencies
"If you're positioned very much in that direction, if
anything interrupts that (then your position will suffer)."
Yields on 10-year U.S. Treasuries, which were
above 3 percent in the middle of last week, have fallen to
around 2.85 percent, their lowest since mid-December, lending
less support to the dollar.
The implied yields on Fed funds futures also tumbled
as markets pushed back the timing of the first interest rate
hike out towards late-2015 from mid-2015.
Investors were also looking for direction with Japanese
financial markets closed on Monday for a public holiday.
"The market is taking its leads from U.S. Treasury markets,
which are generally weighing on the dollar across the board,"
said Adam Cole, global head of FX strategy at RBC Capital
"One of the strongest consensus views was that the dollar
would outperform. Markets didn't have a (jobs) number like that
on the radar at all." He said he expects the dollar to soften
against the yen this quarter.
Dollar selling against major currencies was driven by
computer portfolios, according to one London-based trader.
The yen also pushed higher versus the euro, which fell 0.7
percent to 141.39 yen. The euro touched a low of
141.135 yen, its lowest level in nearly a month.
The euro was up marginally against the dollar at $1.3670
, staying above a one-month trough of $1.3548 hit on
Volumes were high in the Australian dollar, which has been
weak against the U.S. dollar in recent months after comments by
the central bank governor that he would prefer to see the local
dollar lower. The Aussie hit a one-month high of $0.9073
and was last at $0.9050, up 0.6 percent.
The New Zealand dollar rose 0.7 percent to $0.8358.
The Canadian dollar headed back towards its lowest in more
than four years against the greenback after data showed the
country unexpectedly shed jobs last month.
The loonie, which fell in every session last week against
its U.S. peer, last stood at C$1.0916 per dollar. The
U.S. dollar had scaled a peak of C$1.0946 on Friday, the
greenback's strongest level since October 2009.
Fawad Razaqzada, technical analyst at FOREX.com, pointed to
a 12-year-old bearish trend line in the Canadian dollar at
around the C$1.0945-1.1000 level.
"(The) price has already tested the lower end of this range
on Friday. So far, however, the pullback has been very limited
but the longer price holds below this range, the more likely we
will see a pullback," he said.