The Australian dollar was a tad weaker in early Asia on Monday ahead of a big day in manufacturing surveys globally. AUD/USD traded at 0.7079, down 0.11%, while USD/JPY changed hands at 121.28, up 0.11%. The U.S. Dollar Index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was last quoted at 99.60. Negative interest rates pressured the yen, which traded at 121.38 to the dollar, near the six-week low of 121.70 touched on Friday. The euro was steadier at $1.08285.
Oil prices dropped early on Monday after China and South Korea posted surprisingly weak economic data as well as over worries that the prospect of a coordinated production cut by leading crude exporters seemed remote. Front-month Brent crude was trading at $35.54 per barrel at 0157 GMT, down 45 cents, or 1.25 percent, from the last close. U.S. West Texas Intermediate was down 35 cents at $33.27 a barrel.
A rebound in oil prices last week also helped sentiment, though Brent crude fell about 1 percent in early Asia trade. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.1 percent, after losing 8 percent in January. Shares in Australia rose 0.9 percent and South Korea 0.6 percent. On Monday the 10-year Japanese government bond yield hit a record low of 0.050 percent while the two-year yield hit a record minus 0.100 percent.
Gold prices held weaker in early Asia on Monday with manufacturing surveys ahead globally and China expected to set the pace among them. Gold for February delivery on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange eased 0.10% to $1,116.90 a troy ounce. Also on the Comex, silver futures for March delivery fell 0.18% to $14.245 a troy ounce, while copper for March was down 0.13% to $2.059 a pound.