April 7, 2014 / 5:50 AM / 4 years ago

FOREX-Dollar steady after U.S. jobs data, euro wary of ECB stimulus

* Yen edges higher as BOJ begins two-day policy meeting

* Dollar nurses modest losses as jobs report disappoints some bulls

* Euro also cautious on ECB stimulus speculation

By Lisa Twaronite and Ian Chua

TOKYO/SYDNEY, April 7 (Reuters) - The yen rose against its major counterparts in relatively thin trading in Asia on Monday, with moves limited by caution as the Bank of Japan began its two-day policy meeting.

The greenback remained under pressure after Friday’s U.S. nonfarm payrolls report fell short of high expectations, while the euro had problems of its own from speculation the European Central Bank could launch its own bond-buying stimulus

“There’s some consolidation, given it’s a Chinese holiday so liquidity is thinner, and directional leads are lacking,” said Sue Trinh, currency strategist at RBC Capital Markets.

“Not much is expected from the BOJ, though never say never,” she added.

BOJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda might come under pressure to take more easing action to support the economy after Japan hiked its sales tax this month.

However, data scheduled for early Tuesday is expected to show Japan’s current account balance probably swung back to a surplus for the first time in five months in February, helped by overseas investment returns and slowing import growth.

U.S. nonfarm payrolls data last Friday showed 192,000 jobs were generated last month, below analysts’ median forecast and well short of the so-called “whisper” numbers that made the usual rounds in the markets, traders said.

Investors were forced to trim bullish positions as a result, knocking the dollar index off Friday’s seven-week peak of 80.599. It last stood at 80.432, little changed from where it closed in New York.

Traders said the dollar’s dip was a reflection of market positioning rather than any true weakness in payrolls.

Indeed, the report showed “solid job growth and suggests that the negative weather effects of the winter are largely over,” analysts at Barclays Capital wrote in a note to clients.

Speculative positions as seen in the latest IMM data through April 1 still favoured the greenback, with speculators raising their bullish bets on the U.S. dollar in the latest week. Net dollar-long positions rose for the first time in two months, according to the latest data from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission released on Friday.

The greenback recoiled from Friday’s 2-1/2 month high of 104.13 yen to last stand at 103.14, down about 0.2 percent on the day.

However, the dollar only slightly underperformed the euro, which came under pressure after a newspaper report added weight to possible bond-buying stimulus from the ECB.

German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung said the ECB had modelled the effects of buying a trillion euros of assets to ward off deflation, a day after the head of the ECB said radical policy action might be needed.

The common currency fell about 0.2 percent to a one-week low of 141.24 yen. Against the dollar, it stood at $1.3697 , having edged off Friday’s five-week trough of $1.3672. (Editing by Shri Navaratnam and Eric Meijer)

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