* G20 in Sydney aspires to faster global growth goal
* Dollar index pushes higher after first weekly gain in
By Lisa Twaronite
TOKYO, Feb 24 Asian stocks wobbled and the
dollar firmed in early trade on Monday, as investors appeared to
give no more than a passing nod to the Group of 20's latest
commitment to spur faster global growth.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan
was struggling to turn positive, while
Australian shares shed about 0.1 percent.
On Wall Street on Friday, stocks were off slightly on
The final weekend communique from the two-day meeting of G20
finance ministers and central bankers in Sydney said they would
increase investment and employment, generating more than $2
trillion in additional output over five years while creating
tens of million of new jobs, signalling optimism that the worst
of crisis-era austerity was past.
The communique acknowledged emerging nations' concerns that
the Federal Reserve consider the impact of its monetary stimulus
withdrawal, which has led to bouts of capital flight from some
of those markets.
However, minutes released last week from the Fed's most
recent meeting showed that policymakers generally "anticipated
that the economy would expand at a moderate pace in coming
quarters," suggesting the pace of stimulus-tapering will
continue for now.
"There was no realistic expectations that EM would get any
relief but they may be more vulnerable to bad news in the
aftermath." said Steven Englander, head of G10 currency FX
strategy at CitiFX, in a note to clients.
"Similarly the free pass to tapering may be mildly USD
positive," Englander added.
The dollar edged up against a basket of currencies after
posting its first weekly gain in three weeks. The dollar index
rose to 80.254, moving away from last week's low of
79.927 touched on Wednesday, which was its lowest since late
The dollar rose about 0.1 percent to 102.58 yen,
after rising to a three-week high of 102.82 yen on Friday.
The euro also added about 0.1 percent on the day to 140.92
yen, after touching 141.26 yen on Friday, its
loftiest level since Jan. 24.
The yen is likely to remain under pressure on expectations
of more easing steps from the Bank of Japan.
A Reuters poll last week showed the BOJ is expected to ease
monetary policy further by the summer, to give the economy a
lift as the effects of the government's stimulus begins to wane.
Economists surveyed remain sceptical that the central bank will
achieve its 2 percent inflation target by early next year.
The euro was nearly flat on the day at $1.3738, not
far from a high of $1.3773 touched on Wednesday, its highest
level since Jan. 2.
Investors await euro zone inflation on Friday to gauge
whether the European Central Bank has enough ammunition to ease
monetary policy at its next meeting on March 6.
"The weaker the data, the more the speculation will likely
mount that the ECB will take additional action," Marc Chandler,
chief global currency strategist with Brown Brothers Harriman,
said in a research note.
"The point is that between the data, ECB meeting and the US
employment data on March 7, there is sufficient event risk to
deter a strong euro gains from here," Chandler said.