FOREX-Dollar wobbles as Fed tapering expectations pushed back

Reuters

* Dollar index near 8-month low

* Tuesday's US payrolls data in focus

* Euro within sight of 2013 high

* Dollar/yen in triangle holding pattern

By Hideyuki Sano

TOKYO, Oct 21 (Reuters) - The dollar was mired near an8-month low against a basket of currencies on Monday on growingexpectations the U.S. Federal Reserve will have to delay scalingback its stimulus following a 16-day government shutdown.

The dollar index was little moved in Asian trade around79.642 , but not far from a trough of 79.478touched on Friday, its lowest level since February.

"In the last two months, previous payrolls figures wererevised down. The U.S. economy is losing steam and cannotwithstand tapering," said Daisuke Uno, chief strategist atSumitomo Mitsui Bank.

"There will be disappointment at every Fed meeting for therest of the year, and each time the dollar will weaken," headded.

The Fed has two policy meetings scheduled this year, one onOct 29-30 and the other on Dec 17-18.

A majority of market players now expect the Fed will beginreducing stimulus next year, though some analysts believe tapering of the bond buying programme is still possible inDecember.

Expectations of a delay in reducing the Fed's stimulus islikely to strengthen unless a run of upcoming U.S. data showsthat the economy somehow gained momentum despite the disruptioncaused by the government shutdown.

Traders are now looking to September U.S. payrolls due onTuesday, with the market forecasting a jobs gain of 180,000,although the data will shed little light on the impact of thepolicy paralysis in Washington.

The euro fetched $1.3683 in early trade, having risenas high as $1.3703 on Friday, almost touching this year's peakof $1.3711.

The common currency held not far from its four-year peakagainst the yen at 134.95 yen hit last month, trading at 133.92yen.

In contrast, the dollar was on the defensive against theyen, trading at 97.86 yen, off last week's high of 99.00yen.

The dollar/yen pair has been in a triangle holding patternafter hitting a five-year high around 103.73 yen in May asyen-selling propelled by the Bank of Japan's aggressive monetaryeasing has run its course.

Many traders expect the dollar to remain in this holdingpattern for the moment, though the risks for the greenback couldgrow if it breaks below its key 200-day moving average,currently at 97.17.

The Australian dollar stood near four-month highs as thecurrency benefitted from rising risk appetite after U.S.lawmakers struck a deal to avert a U.S. debt default last week.

The Aussie changed hands at $0.9660, near Friday'sfour-month high of $0.9680.

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