Dollar steady on mixed jobs data, pound stands tall after election surge

By Shinichi Saoshiro

TOKYO (Reuters) – The dollar stood little changed against its peers after mixed U.S. jobs data failed to offer much of a buying incentive, while sterling stood tall after a surprise British election victory by the Conservative Party.

The dollar was steady at 119.73 yen, having slipped from an overnight high of 120.24 after the release of Friday’s U.S. jobs numbers.

The closely-watched U.S. jobs data showed April non-farm payrolls increase roughly in line with forecasts to 223,000 but a significant downward revision to the March figure. Wage growth, a favored metric for Fed policy makers, was also softer than expected.

The mixed data supported bets that the Fed will not begin hiking rates until late in 2015 and pushed U.S. debt yields lower, in turn weakening demand for the dollar.

The dollar fared a little better against the euro, nudged away from a recent peak as a recent sharp jump in German bund yields halted late last week.

The euro was little changed at $1.1200, having pulled back from a two-month peak of $1.1392 struck Thursday.

“Greek-related headlines have begun filtering out over the weekend, and the debt negotiations will be one of this week’s currency themes. Today’s Eurogroup meeting and its impact on the euro will be in focus,” said Shinichiro Kadota, chief Japan forex strategist at Barclays in Tokyo.

The Eurogroup of euro zone finance ministers have ruled out clinching a deal to unlock aid for Greece at Monday’s meeting, although Athens remains hopeful that the meeting will note progress in talks with lenders on ease its cash crunch.

“And with the U.K. elections over, attention will shift back towards fundamentals and Bank of England policy and whether it can head towards hiking rates,” Kadota at Barclays said.

Investors will have a chance to gauge the central bank’s stance when the BOE policy meeting minutes are released later in the day.

The pound fetched $1.5435 after surging well over 1 percent to a two-month high of $1.5523 late on Friday, after Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservative Party defied expectations and won, relieving investors who had braced for a hung parliament and the political uncertainty associated with it.

The New Zealand dollar remained under pressure after the country’s central bank hinted last month that it might cut rates if the economy slowed and inflation stayed low. The kiwi was down 1 percent, touching a one-month low of $0.7408.

(Editing by Eric Meijer)

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