Euro steady in Asia after Cyprus plunge

Euro steady in Asia after Cyprus plunge

TOKYO - The euro held steady in Asia Tuesday on subsiding fears about a controversial bailout for Cyprus, while the yen weakened as a pro-easing team prepares to take over at the Bank of Japan.

In Tokyo afternoon trade, the European common currency fetched $1.2954 from $1.2957 in New York Monday, while it bought 123.84 yen, from 123.41 yen.

The dollar strengthened to 95.58 yen from 95.23 yen.

On Monday in Asia the European unit plunged to as low as 121.76 yen and $1.2903, while the dollar sat at 94.36 yen.

Investors were spooked on Monday after Cyprus unveiled a proposal at the weekend to impose a levy on all bank depositors in order to qualify for a 10 billion euro bailout for Cyprus.

Savers with up to 100,000 euros would be taxed at 6.75 percent, while those with larger accounts would be forced to pay up to 9.9 percent.

The news sparked a global outcry and markets tumbled amid fears the eurozone debt crisis could flare up again, while others fretted similar measures could be introduced in other troubled economies in the future.

However, some calm was restored on Tuesday after eurozone finance ministers told Cyprus to drop the levy on the smaller savings.

"The terms of the Cyprus bailout, including a levy on all bank depositors, while still subject to potential amendments, have triggered an unprecedented wave of criticism and fears over possible bank runs and financial contagion to the rest of the eurozone," Credit Agricole said.

"The deal could have wide-ranging consequences in terms of confidence in banks in the troubled countries."

In Japan, Haruhiko Kuroda and his two deputies - who are all advocates of aggressive monetary easing - are scheduled to take up their posts at the helm of the country's central bank Wednesday.

"With the new Bank of Japan leadership slated to assume their positions tomorrow... more pre-fiscal year-end easing remains a distinct possibility," CLSA equity strategist Nicholas Smith told Dow Jones Newswires.

Eyes are also on a US Federal Reserve meeting for clues about policy moves after a decline in a key US consumer sentiment index highlighted ongoing weaknesses in the world's biggest economy.

The dollar was mostly lower against other Asia-Pacific currencies.

It slipped to Sg$1.2497 from Sg$1.2515 a day earlier, to 40.68 Philippine pesos from 40.69 pesos, to 53.94 Indian rupees from 54.29 rupees, and to 29.36 Thai baht from 29.59 baht.

The greenback also weakened to Tw$29.73 from Tw$29.75 and to 1,112.10 South Korean won from 1,114.46 won while it strengthened to 9,712 Indonesian rupiah from 9,709 rupiah.

The Australian dollar firmed to $1.0384 from $1.0359 while the Chinese yuan fetched 15.35 yen against 15.21 yen.

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