Asian shares down, China trade data for May awaited

Pedestrians walk next to an electronic board showing recent fluctuations of the Japan's Nikkei average  in Tokyo, Japan, May 28, 2015. The Nikkei is up 0.3 per cent early June 8, 2015. — Reuters pic
Pedestrians walk next to an electronic board showing recent fluctuations of the Japan's Nikkei average in Tokyo, Japan, May 28, 2015. The Nikkei is up 0.3 per cent early June 8, 2015. — Reuters pic

TOKYO, June 8 — An index of Asian shares slipped today, while the dollar stuck close to a 13-year high against the yen hit after upbeat US employment data raised bets that the US central bank would raise interest rates as early as September.

US nonfarm payrolls jumped 280,000 last month, the largest gain since December, while payrolls for March and April were revised to show 32,000 more jobs were created than previously reported, the Labour Department said.

“We view this report as supporting our view that the Q1 softness was likely temporary and driven by one-off factors,” strategists at Barclays said. “We see the economy returning to more solid growth from Q2 onwards and the recovery being sustained.”

China's May trade data is due to be released later in the session. A Reuters poll of analysts showed the market expected external and internal demand to have remained fairly weak last month.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was down 0.3 per cent, while Japan' s Nikkei stock index added 0.3 per cent.

On Wall Street on Friday, major indexes were mixed, and close to flat for the week.

The US benchmark Treasury yield marked its best weekly performance in two years on Friday, touching an eight-month high after the jobs data and boosting the dollar's appeal.

The 10-year Treasury yield rose to 2.413 percent in early Asian trade, compared to its U.S. close of 2.400 on Friday.

Higher yields powered the dollar to a 13-year peak of 125.86 yen on Friday. It was last down slightly on the day at 125.58 yen.

The greenback gained on the euro, which remained pressured by Greece's ongoing struggle to solve its debt crisis. The euro bought $1.1103, down about 0.1 per cent on the day.

Yesterday, the head of the European Union rebuked Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in unusually sharp terms, and warned that time was running out for Athens to reach a debt deal with its lenders to avert default.

The strong dollar weighed on commodities prices, with oil logging weekly losses despite a rally on Friday.

Brent crude futures slipped about 0.7 per cent to US$62.88 (RM236.17) a barrel, after skidding 3.6 per cent last week. US crude fell 0.8 per cent to US$58.67 after giving up two per cent last week. — Reuters