Euro buoyant in Asia on Greece bailout

PHOTO: Euro buoyant in Asia on Greece bailout

TOKYO - The euro extended its recent gains in Asian trade Wednesday as markets cheered an EU extension on Greece's deficit targets while fears about the US economy helped push investors toward the single currency.

The 17-nation euro bought US$1.3107 (S$S$1.5969) and 107.69 yen, from US$1.3096 and 107.22 yen in New York trade on Tuesday.

The greenback fetched 82.17 yen, stronger than 81.88 yen in US trading. On Tuesday, the European Union gave Greece an extra two years to bring its deficit within formal EU limits, after Athens launched a debt buyback bid aimed at chopping its huge debt pile.

The dollar and euro both jumped on the yen after the Bank of Japan's Deputy Governor Kiyohiko Nishimura said Wednesday that the BoJ "has been and will always be ready to take appropriate and decisive action" on the economy.

The yen has been under pressure as Japan's main opposition leader Shinzo Abe, the frontrunner to become the nation's next prime minister, repeatedly said he would push the BoJ to usher in more aggressive easing measures.

The dollar's mixed performance comes as Democrats and Republicans in Washington appeared to be toughening their stances in crunch talks to avoid the fiscal cliff package of tax hikes and spending cuts.

Worries about the world's largest economy are mounting in the face of weak November manufacturing data and an expected downturn in US non-farm payrolls data later this week.

The positive news out of Europe and fears about the US economy helped the euro, but it may come under profit-taking pressure, dealers said.

"It's a combination of those two factors that's pushing the (euro/dollar) pair higher," a senior dealer at a major Japanese trust-bank told Dow Jones Newswires.

"The pair's general trend is strong."

Traders were now looking ahead to Thursday's European Central Bank and Bank of England policy meetings, with the ECB not expected to cut rates despite the stagnant economy and lower inflation pressures.