Dollar Nudges Up Versus Yen After Upbeat Jobs Data, Euro Steady

The dollar edged higher against the yen on Monday thanks to upbeat U.S. employment data while the euro stood firm after rebounding from multi-month lows, continuing to shake off the impact from the European Central Bank’s monetary easing last week.

The dollar rose 0.1 percent to 102.57 yen, adding to gains made on Friday when data showed U.S. nonfarm payrolls increased by 217,000 last month, returning to its pre-recession level and offering confirmation the world’s largest economy has snapped back from a winter slump.

“The nonfarm payrolls are helping the dollar but right now there is also less reason to buy the yen, with factors such as NISA, public pension funds and corporate M&A seen diminishing the currency’s allure,” said Bart Wakabayashi, head of forex at State Street in Tokyo.

Nippon Individual Savings Account (NISA) is a new tax-break facility for Japanese retail investors introduced in January aimed at driving massive savings into stocks and mutual funds, of which some are expected to be invested in foreign assets.

Japan’s public pension fund, the world’s largest, has been working to diversify its domestic bond-centric portfolio and any changes are likely to have a significant effect on liquidity flows.

A recent increase in cross border merger and acquisition (M&A) by Japanese companies is another factor seen pressure the yen by raising demand for foreign currencies.

Last week Japan’s Dai-ichi Life Insurance Co, the country’s second largest private-sector insurer, agreed to buy U.S. peer Protective Life for $5.7 billion.

The euro was little changed at $1.3642, after having pulled away from a four-month low of $1.3503 hit Thursday when the ECB cut all its main rates to record lows and announced an array of measures to halt a disinflation trend.

“The series of measures unveiled by the ECB will not start having an impact right away. As such, short covering of euro short positions, which had built up considerably prior to the ECB meeting, is being covered by participants pocketing profits,” said Shinichiro Kadota, chief Japan FX strategist at Barclays in Tokyo.

There was little market reaction to a series of data out of Japan. First-quarter economic growth was revised up to 1.6 percent from a preliminary 1.5 percent and the country logged a third straight month of current account surplus, albeit lower than expected, in April.

“The market is more focused on data pertaining to inflation and its possible impact on the Bank of Japan’s monetary policy,” said Kadota at Barclays.

Antipodean currencies continued to ride the upward momentum created by the boost to risk sentiment triggered by the ECB’s easing.

The Australian dollar traded at $0.9348, not far from a near three-week high of $0.9358 hit on Friday.

The New Zealand dollar was up 0.3 percent at $0.8515, having rebounded sharply from a three-month low of $0.8401 struck last week prior to the ECB meeting.

China’s yuan’s jumped on Monday after the People’s Bank of China fixed the daily midpoint surprisingly higher against the greenback for a second straight session, boosting other Asian currencies in its wake.

Source : Reuters