Dollar firm in Asia after US jobs data


The dollar firmed in Asian trade Monday on the back of better-than-expected US jobs data, while the yen was mixed following poor economic data that has re-ignited central bank easing speculation. The greenback bought 82.56 yen in Tokyo, against 82.46 yen in New York late Friday. The euro slipped to $1.2910 and to 106.59 yen from $1.2928 and 106.64 yen. On Friday, the US Labor Department reported the unemployment rate fell to 7.7 percent in November from 7.9 percent in October, beating forecasts of a rise to 8.0 percent. The economy spun out a net 146,000 new jobs. However, job creation numbers for the previous two months were revised downward, while the data also showed more people dropped out of the jobs market altogether than got new jobs. The figures came ahead of official data in Japan Monday that confirmed the world’s third-largest economy contracted in the three months to September, stoking recession fears and speculation the Bank of Japan will launch further easing measures to boost growth. The bank issues its key Tankan corporate sentiment survey later this week. “If the Tankan survey shows the economy is worsening, that will add pressure for the BoJ to act,” Yasuo Yamamoto, senior economist at Mizuho Research Institute, told Dow Jones Newswires. Japan’s October current account surplus came in better-than-expected on Monday, but the broad measure of its trade with the rest of the world was still down about 30 percent year on year, according to official data. The euro has been weighed by news Germany’s central bank slashed its growth forecast for next year to 0.4 percent from an earlier 1.6 percent estimate, said Masafumi Yamamoto, senior currency analyst at Barclays Capital. The European Central Bank’s downbeat eurozone economic forecast, which cut growth expectations with a prediction of more contraction in 2013, also dragged the euro lower, dealers said.