The dollar had been holding steady versus its European rivals on Monday, but has begun to weaken slightly in the afternoon. With the long weekend for the Easter holiday behind them, investors have finally been able to react to the weaker than expected U.S. jobs report that was released on Friday.
U.S. employment saw continued growth in the month of March, according to a report released by the Labor Department on Friday, although the pace of job growth came in well below economist estimates. The report showed that non-farm payroll employment increased by 120,000 jobs in March following an upwardly revised increase of 240,000 jobs in February. Economists had expected the addition of about 201,000 jobs compared to the increase of 227,000 jobs that had been reported for the previous month.
Despite the weaker than expected job growth, the unemployment rate unexpectedly edged down to 8.2 percent in March from 8.3 percent in February. With the unexpected drop, the unemployment rate fell to its lowest level since coming in at 7.8 percent in January of 2009.
Inflation in China increased more than expected in March after easing to a twenty-month low in February, data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed Monday. The latest rise in inflation rate was mainly driven by rising food costs.
Chinese inflation rose to 3.6 percent in March from 3.2 percent in February. Economists had forecast an increase to 3.4 percent. Food inflation accelerated to 7.5 percent from 6.2 percent in the previous month, partly led by a 6.1 percent annual surge in costs of fresh vegetables.
The dollar has fallen to $1.3120 versus the Euro this afternoon, its lowest level since April 5. The currency had been range-bound over the long weekend, hovering around $1.3075.
The greenback has also retreated versus the pound sterling, reaching $1.5904, its lowest level since April 5.
The buck sold off versus the Japanese Yen on Friday, following the release of the jobs data. The dollar has drifted a bit further on Monday and has reached a one-month low of Y81.188.
Japan posted a current account surplus of 1.177 trillion yen in February, the Ministry of Finance said on Monday, down 30.7 percent on year.
The headline figure beat forecasts for a surplus of 1.120 trillion yen after posting a shortfall of 437.3 billion yen in January. Analysts had expected a contraction of 34.1 percent on year following the 180 percent plunge a month earlier.
The trade balance came in below forecasts at 102.1 billion yen, shy of expectations for 104.3 billion yen after showing a deficit of 1.381 trillion yen in the previous month.
by RTT Staff Writer
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