* Dollar down as long positions unwound post jobs report
* Aussie soars to 26-mth high vs euro, at 5-wk high vs USD
By Anirban Nag
SYDNEY, Jan 11 (Reuters) - The U.S. dollar fell on Monday, extending losses after posting its biggest loss in six weeks after U.S. jobs data disappointed, while the Australian dollar soared on the back of strong export numbers from China.
The euro charged higher to $1.4468, from $1.4414 late in New York on Friday, with stops lined up around $1.4580. A break above that level would suggest a gradual recovery towards $1.4800, say traders.
Trading conditions were thin with Tokyo shut for a holiday, encouraging some players to try and trigger stop-loss selling of the U.S. currency. Traders expect the greenback to stay on the defensive as speculators cut long positions in the U.S. dollar following the U.S. jobs report.
Data on Friday showed U.S. employers cut 85,000 jobs last month. November payrolls, however, were revised to show the economy actually added 4,000 jobs. [ID:nN0747110].
Expectations that the Federal Reserve will keep rates on hold for the foreseeable future, encouraged by Friday's weak employment report have held the dollar down, said Joseph Capurso strategist at Commonwealth Bank.
The dollar index .DXY was down 0.42 percent at 77.149, having risen to as high as 78.187 on Friday. Latest data from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission showed speculators cut long positions in the U.S. dollar in the week to Jan 5, and that trend is likely to pick up, traders say. [IMM/FX].
Interest rate futures <0#FF:> pared expectations the Fed will raise benchmark short-term rates any time soon. July futures contract FFNO implied a 22 percent chance of a rate hike by mid-2010, down from around 40 percent before the jobs data.
The U.S. dollar's next litmus test is expected to come from U.S. earnings season which kicks off in earnest this week, U.S. retail sales, industrial production and inflation data.
The new year is beginning with a gradual unwind of December's dollar rally, as the notion of early Fed tightening is put to rest, JP Morgan said in a report.
Ahead of earnings season, add to U.S. dollar shorts versus commodity currencies and also buy yen crosses.
The European Central Bank will also meet on Thursday and is largely expected to keep rates unchanged.
Still, jitters about more downgrades in the region could weigh on the euro. The Financial Times reported on Monday that Portugal has been warned about a threat to its ratings. [nLDE6090O4].
That is likely to compound worries already caused by Greece's credit battle and Iceland's row with the Netherlands and Britain over its banking collapse.
The Australian dollar rallied to a 26-month high versus the euro AUDEUR=R, rising to as high as 0.6442 euros. The Aussie also struck a fresh five-week high of $0.9305 buoyed by strong Chinese export numbers [ID:nTOE60900L].
The Aussie was also bolstered by a rise in gold prices. Spot gold XAU= rose to a five-week high early on Monday, jumping to as high as $1,158 an ounce, from as low as $1,119.45 on Friday.
Against the yen, the Aussie was at a 15-month high of 85.84 yen AUDJPY=R. The yen was, however, firmer on the dollar, rising to 92.30, from 92.68 yen late in New York on Friday.
On Friday, the yen recovered some ground after Japan's new finance minister backed off from his earlier call for a weaker yen following a rebuke from the prime minister. (Editing by Wayne Cole)