Dollar licks wounds after payrolls shock, focus turns to inflation

The dollar index, which measures the greenback against six rivals, stood at 90.178

  
Image for illustrative purpose. A money changer holds stacks of US dollar notes in Jakarta, August 29, 2013.

Image for illustrative purpose. A money changer holds stacks of US dollar notes in Jakarta, August 29, 2013.

REUTERS/Beawiharta Beawiharta

TOKYO: The dollar languished near a more than two-month low versus major peers on Monday as investors continued to assess the implications for monetary policy of a disappointing U.S. employment report, ahead of inflation data this week.

The U.S. created only a little more than a quarter of the jobs that economists had forecast last month and the unemployment rate unexpectedly ticked higher, pouring cold water on speculation the pandemic recovery could spark faster inflation that the Federal Reserve anticipates.

The dollar index, which measures the greenback against six rivals, stood at 90.178, after dipping as low as 90.128 for the first time since Feb. 26.

Notably, the British pound rallied 0.3%, rising as high as $1.4036 for the first time since Feb. 25, despite Scotland's leader saying another referendum on independence was inevitable after her party's resounding election victory. 

"The USD’s choppy downtrend can continue this week," Commonwealth Bank of Australia strategist Kim Mundy wrote in a client note, predicting a break above $1.22 for the euro.

"The unexpected slow recovery in the U.S. labour market reinforces the FOMC's patient approach to monetary policy," while "the improving global economic outlook is a medium-term weight on the USD."

The euro rose 0.1% to $1.2172, earlier touching the highest since Feb. 26 at $1.2177.

The dollar was little changed at 108.57 yen, not far from its lowest since April 27.

The Aussie dollar ticked 0.1% higher to $0.78535, close to Friday's more-than-two-month high of 0.7863.

Canada's loonie rallied to a fresh 3-1/2-year high of $1.2111.

In cryptocurrencies, ether changed hands at $3,918.78 after reaching a record $3,985 on Sunday. The second-biggest digital token has rallied 41% so far this month.

Bigger rival bitcoin remained stuck around $58,000, consolidating after retreating as low as $47,004.20 on April 25 following its surge to a record $64,895.22 in the middle of that month.

Meanwhile, no. 4 virtual currency dogecoin languished around $0.56 after losing more than a third of its price on Sunday, when Elon Musk called the token a "hustle" during his guest-host spot on the "Saturday Night Live" comedy sketch TV show. 

"Musk is probably happy to jump on the joke of what is a meme(coin), but investors are probably feeling real pain now," said Justin d'Anethan, Hong Kong-based head of Exchange Sales at Diginex, a digital asset exchange.

"The supply is essentially unlimited (for dogecoin), and so unsustainable long-term. It's a question of who will sell first and who will be left holding the bags."

(Reporting by Kevin Buckland; Editing by Sam Holmes) ((Kevin.Buckland@thomsonreuters.com;))

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