SYDNEY (Reuters) - The yen wallowed at one-week lows against the dollar and euro early on Monday, having been beaten down late last week as U.S. stocks rallied after investors got over a disappointing set of headlines on the U.S. labor market.
Traders said expectations that Asian stocks could track Wall Street were keeping a lid on demand for the low-yielding Japanese currency for now.
The dollar bought 102.65 yen, while the euro fetched 139.79 yen, both at their highest since late January. Against the greenback, the euro traded at $1.3623, not far from a one-week high of $1.3649 reached on Friday.
Last week was a frustrating one for the market with two major events: the European Central Bank policy review and U.S. payrolls data both providing no new leads.
While the rise of 113,000 U.S. payrolls was well short of a forecast increase of 185,000, the details were not bad enough to sway the Federal Reserve from steadily winding down its bond-buying stimulus, traders said.
Indeed, the unemployment rate actually fell to a five-year low of 6.6 percent even as Americans piled back into the labor market in search for work.
“The detailed data suggests the U.S. is indeed moving towards a stronger economy and that the unwinding of monetary stimulus will be taken in stride,” said Evans Lucas, market strategist at IG in Melbourne.
“It also suggests the headline data, while disappointing on the surface, is actually moving towards the FOMC’s ‘trigger’ points at a pace the board will be more than pleased with.”
The U.S. jobs data came a day after the ECB took no new action at its policy review, although it gave a fairly clear steer that action could be taken next month if new internal forecasts show a further deterioration in inflation.
All of that left the dollar, euro and yen pretty much back at where they were a week ago. This week, traders will be looking at Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s first Congressional testimony and economic growth data from the euro zone for fresh cues.
In contrast, dollar bloc commodity currencies came into their own with the Australian, Canadian and New Zealand dollars posting their best weekly gain in about five months.
The Aussie rallied after the Reserve Bank of Australia dropped its bias to ease, while upbeat local data gave the loonie and kiwi a boost.
Figures on Friday showed Canada recouped 29,400 of the 44,000 jobs lost in December, and the unemployment rate fell to 7.0 percent from 7.2 percent, diminishing talk of a possible interest rate cut by the central bank.
That saw the loonie climb to its highest in over two weeks. It was last at C$1.1038 per U.S. dollar, having risen to C$1.0968.
The Aussie traded at $0.8957, not far from a four-week peak of $0.8999 set on Friday, while the kiwi bought $0.8280, near a 1-1/2 week high of $0.8297.
Editing by Shri Navaratnam