China cut interest rates for the third time in six months on Sunday, and analysts predicted policymakers would relax reserve requirements and cut rates again in the coming months. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.5 percent in early trade, moving away from a one-month low touched on Friday. Japan's Nikkei Index added 1.3 percent. Gold prices eased in Asia on Monday following a weekend rate cut by China's central bank, though copper gained. On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, gold futures for June delivery eased 0.08%, to $1,188.00 a troy ounce. Also on the Comex, silver futures for July delivery fell 0.09%, to $16.450 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in metals trading, copper for July delivery rose 0.46% to $2.928 a pound.
The Labor Department reported Friday that the U.S. economy added 223,000 new jobs in April, just below expectations for jobs growth of 224,000. March’s figures were revised down to just 85,000 from a previously reported gain of 126,000. The unemployment rate fell from 5.5% to a near seven-year low of 5.4% last month, in line with forecasts. Crude oil prices fell in early Asia trading on Monday, and on the New York Mercantile Exchange, crude oil for delivery in June fell 0.20%, to $59.27 a barrel. Elsewhere, on the ICE Futures Exchange in London, Brent for June delivery dipped 15 cents, or 0.23%, to end at $65.39 a barrel on Friday following the U.S. jobs report.
Ongoing concerns about Greece's financial woes as well as disappointing German trade data undermined the euro. Later today, the Eurogroup of euro zone finance ministers will meet, and Greece's government is hopeful that they will not progress on Athens talk with lenders. The ministers have ruled out unlocking aid for Greece at the meeting, saying that too many issues with the debt-laden country remain unresolved. The U.S. Dollar Index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was quoted up 0.03%, to 94.93 in early Asia.