The yen was broadly firmer on Monday after weak economic data out of the U.S. clouded the outlook for a quick global recovery, prompting further profit taking in commodity-linked currencies after their sizzling rally.
Growth-linked currencies such as the Australian and New Zealand dollars were on the backfoot with investors growing increasingly nervous about whether stock markets are running ahead of themselves.
These currencies tend to move in tandem with stock and commodity markets, which have rallied in recent months after a slew of better-than-expected economic data sparked hopes of a quick turnaround in global activity.
The dollar was down at 94.70 yen from 94.80 yen late in New York, while the euro eased to 134.35 yen from 134.48 late on Friday. The euro slipped to $1.4175 from $1.4186.
The Aussie was well off an 11-month high of $0.8479 struck on Friday, trading around $0.8300, and was on the defensive at 78.63 yen, down from Friday's high of 80.84 yen. The Aussie underperformed its New Zealand counterpart, trading near 4-month lows of NZ$1.2245 struck on Friday.
Demand for higher-yielding currencies and riskier assets like stocks took a hit on Friday after U.S. consumer confidence fell in August for the second straight month.
The data eclipsed reports showing U.S. industrial output gained for the first time in nine months and inflation was muted in July.
Weak data is no longer treated as a harbinger of an economic apocalypse, but as a indication that the forthcoming period of growth is likely to be frustratingly tepid relative to the rich valuations of risk-sensitive asset markets, said David Watt, senior currency strategist at RBC Capital Markets.
Investor focus now turns to Japanese second-quarter gross domestic product numbers at 2350 GMT. Analysts expect the economy to have grown 1.0 percent in the second quarter, following contractions of 3.8 percent and 3.6 percent in the previous two quarters [nT198707].
That would be the first expansion in five quarters and any upside surprise could offer support to riskier assets in Asian trade.
U.S. economic data this week is mostly second tier with the Empire State index on Monday likely to take center stage.
(Editing by James Thornhill)