* DXY well above November levels but pressured by data, Fed
* Speculators trim net long dollar positions -IMM data
* BOJ tankan survey suggests manufacturers expect stronger
By Lisa Twaronite
TOKYO, April 3 The dollar wobbled in Asian
trading on Monday as some lacklustre U.S. data and comments from
Federal Reserve officials gave investors few catalysts to build
on their U.S. currency exposure.
The dollar index, which tracks the U.S. currency
against a basket of six major rivals, edged up slightly to
100.400. It notched a low of 98.858 last week, its weakest level
since Nov. 11, in the wake of U.S. President Donald Trump's
failure to get a healthcare reform bill passed last month.
"The dollar got some support last week from month-end buying
and came off its lows, but overall its heaviness remains
unchanged," said Mitsuo Imaizumi, Tokyo-based chief
foreign-exchange strategist for Daiwa Securities.
"This week, investors are waiting for Friday's non-farm
payrolls report, and a worse-than-expected reading would push
the dollar down more than a better-than-expected reading would
push it up," he said, underscoring the already cautious
expectations on the pace of further U.S. rate hikes this year.
Economists polled by Reuters predict the U.S. economy will
have added 180,000 jobs in March.
The Bank of Japan's "tankan" survey released on Monday
showed that large Japanese manufacturers expected the dollar to
average 108.43 in the fiscal year that began this month.
The dollar stood at 111.34 yen on Monday, nearly
flat on the day and below Friday's 10-day peak of 112.19 yen.
The tankan also showed that big manufacturers' business
sentiment improved for a second straight quarter to hit a
1-1/2-year high in March, a sign the benefits of an
export-driven economic recovery were broadening.
"The numbers are better" than previous surveys, said Harumi
Taguchi, principal economist at IHS Markit in Tokyo, adding "if
the yen's current weakness is continued, that would be better
for their profit and that will support fixed investment, which
is good for the economy."
"But we need to see if any of the Trump administration's
plans make it harder for their initial plans to succeed," she
On Friday, Trump ordered a study into the causes of U.S.
trade deficits and a clampdown on countries that evaded import
Investors also parsed comments from Fed officials on Friday,
some of which pressured the greenback. Markets are currently
pricing in more than a 50 percent chance that the central bank
will hike interest rates at its June meeting, the second of the
three increases expected this calendar year.
New York Fed President William Dudley, seen as one of the
most important members of the Fed's policy-setting committee,
said the central bank could begin trimming its bond portfolio
this year - earlier than many economists expect - but also said
that it was in no rush to tighten monetary policy.
St. Louis Fed President James Bullard and Minneapolis Fed
President Neel Kashkari also said on Friday they expect rate
increases this year, but both were cautious about the U.S.
A spate of mixed U.S. economic data on Friday reinforced the
Fed's view that the economy is growing at a steady but not rapid
pace. Consumer spending barely rose in February amid delays in
the payment of income tax refunds, but inflation marked its
biggest annual increase in nearly five years.
The consumer spending data led some of Wall Street's top
banks to mark down their first quarter growth estimates for the
Speculators reduced bullish bets on the U.S. dollar for the
first time in four weeks in the week ended March 28, according
to Commodity Futures Trading Commission data released on Friday
and calculations by Reuters.
The euro added 0.2 percent to $1.0685 but remained
not far above Friday's low of $1.0649, its weakest since March
The single currency came under pressure last week after data
showed euro zone inflation slowing.
European Central Bank officials also signalled that the
central bank is still very much in easing mode, after their
policy message in April prompted investors to price in an
interest rate hike early next year.
(Reporting by Tokyo markets team; Editing by Shri Navaratnam
and Richard Borsuk)