SINGAPORE: The dollar fell in Asia Monday after a report revealed a decline in US wages that could dampen consumer spending and delay an interest rate increase.
The euro was at $1.1857 in Singapore trade, up from $1.1842 in New York late Friday, while it was also at 140.28 yen from 140.29 yen. The dollar dipped to 118.32 yen from 118.46 yen.
Japanese financial markets were closed for a public holiday.
The US government on Friday reported that the economy added a solid 252,000 jobs in December, while unemployment dropped to 5.6 percent from 5.8 percent in November.
However, hourly earnings, a sign of the economy’s strength, fell back, almost totally reversing the previous month’s gain. Hourly earnings were up just 1.7 percent from a year ago, just keeping up with inflation.
Analysts said investors focused on the hourly earnings fall because of its impact on consumption.
“The broader picture remains unchanged,” DBS Bank said in a commentary.
“There has been essentially zero real wage growth for the past two years, suggesting much slack remains in labor markets and raising more doubt about an official unemployment rate that has fallen to 5.6 percent from 8 percent on the same two year time frame.”
Analysts took the report as allowing the Fed to hold off hiking interest rates too soon, denting speculation of an increase in April and making the dollar less attractive to investors.
DBS said investors were also looking ahead to a meeting of the European Central Bank’s governing council on January 22 for some clues on its intention to purchase sovereign bonds.
And eyes will be on the Greek snap election on January 25 in the face of fears that a win by far-left Syriza party could lead to the country exiting the eurozone.