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Dollar rebounds vs yen, slips against other major currencies

Stacks of hundred dollar bills
Chung Sung-Jun | Getty Images

The dollar rose on Monday from its biggest weekly fall in more than seven years against the yen but softened against other major currencies, in particular the euro, which was helped by stronger German manufacturing data.

Worries over Japanese policymakers' inability to stem the yen's rise pushed the dollar to an 18-month low of 106.14 yen in the first hours of Asian trade. It later bounced to 106.78 yen, up 0.4 percent on the day.

Finance Minister Taro Aso was quoted in Japanese media over the weekend as saying he viewed the yen's strength as "extremely concerning," stoking speculation the Bank of Japan might intervene to stem the currency's rise.

"It contributed to the performance of the yen, while we are seeing the dollar softer against other currencies," said Eric Viloria, currency strategist at Wells Fargo Securities in New York.

The dollar index dipped 0.53 percent to 92.59 after hitting its lowest since January 2015 at 92.568.

The greenback has fallen since mid-March after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen signaled the Fed would proceed with further rate increases with "caution."

The dollar's weakness intensified following the BOJ's surprise inaction on further stimulus at its policy meeting last week.

"One can only imagine that they did not want a stronger yen, but the authorities there caused it by taking no action last week," Thu Lan Nguyen, a strategist with Commerzbank in Frankfurt, said of Aso's comments.

Last week's nearly 5 percent gain for the yen was its biggest since the 2008 crisis and pushed "long" bets on more gains to the highest on record. This raised the risk the dollar could weaken to 100 yen, some analysts said.

With British markets closed for a holiday on Monday, sterling reached a five-month peak versus the dollar on receding worries about the "Brexit" referendum on June 23. The pound was last up 0.36 percent at $1.466.

Monday's data on global manufacturing supported the notion of sluggish global growth. U.S. factory growth slowed more than expected in April, while Chinese manufacturing activity expanded only marginally.

German factory data, while marginally below forecast, showed the sector grew solidly. That lifted the euro to $1.1522, the highest since late August, according to Reuters data.

An Australian central bank meeting will be a focus on Tuesday. The Aussie dollar was up 0.64 percent at $0.7655 on Monday, adding to an 11 percent surge since hitting multi-year lows in January.