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Dollar down in Asia following US jobs data

SINGAPORE--The dollar weakened in Asian trade Monday following a mixed U.S. jobs report last week while traders await the congressional testimony of the head of the Federal Reserve later in the week.

The dollar was at 101.94 Japanese yen in Singapore afternoon trade, compared with 102.19 yen in New York late Friday. The euro bought US$1.3873 against US$1.3869.

Financial markets in Japan, South Korea and Thailand are closed on Monday for public holidays.

Singapore's DBS Bank said “markets were unimpressed” by data on Friday showing the U.S. economy added 288,000 jobs in April, the most in more than two years.

The unemployment rate fell to 6.3 percent from 6.7 percent in March, the lowest level since September 2008.

But the cause was a sharp fall in the size of the active labor force rather than new hirings.

“Markets realized that both labor force and employed had shrunk, amidst a lower labor participation rate and flat wage growth,” DBS said in a note.

It said investors will be scrutinizing Fed chief Janet Yellen's testimony to the Congress Joint Economic Committee on Wednesday to see if she provides any clues about the state of the U.S. economy and the bank's plans for it stimulus program.

Singapore-based Phillip Futures said investors are also tracking the escalating tensions in Ukraine.

Thousands of pro-Russian protestors on Sunday attacked the police headquarters of the country's southern port city of Odessa, following deadly clashes there and accusations by Kiev that Moscow was bent on executing a plan “to destroy Ukraine.”

The U.S. dollar was lower against other Asia-Pacific currencies.

It weakened to SG$1.2508 from SG$1.2534 in Tokyo on Friday, to 1,028.23 South Korean won from 1,030.94 won and to 44.40 Philippine pesos from 44.55 pesos.

The greenback also slipped to 32.34 Thai baht from 32.39 baht and was flat at 11,535 Indonesian rupiah.

The Australian dollar bought 92.72 U.S. cents from 92.77 cents, while the Chinese yuan eased to 16.34 Japanese yen, compared with 16.35 yen on Friday.

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