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Dollar firm in Asia ahead of G20 talks

The dollar was firm in Asia on Thursday ahead of the start of G20 talks where the forex market may top the agenda, while the yen was little moved as the Bank of Japan held off fresh policy action.

The dollar fetched 93.49 yen in Tokyo afternoon trade from 93.46 yen in New York Wednesday afternoon.

The euro bought 125.65 yen and $1.3437, slightly down from 125.70 yen and $1.3450 in US trade.

Markets were keeping a close eye on a meeting of finance ministers and central bankers from the Group of 20 industrialised nations that starts in Moscow on Friday.

The talks come after a statement by the Group of Seven richest nations warned over currency manipulation as Tokyo faces accusations it has orchestrated a slide in the yen in recent months. Japanese officials have repeatedly denied the claims.

Japan's Asahi daily, citing a copy of a draft joint statement, reported Thursday that the G20 would also warn members off any competitive currency devaluations.

Fears about such a race to the bottom have stoked talk of a global "currency war" in which rival nations jockey for a trade advantage by driving down their currencies.

The yen briefly slipped on reports earlier Thursday that former BoJ deputy governor Kazumasa Iwata said a dollar-yen rate between 90-100 was appropriate, Dow Jones Newswires reported.

Traders' attention was stoked by the comments because Iwata may be a candidate for the top job at Japan's central bank, said Junichi Ishikawa, market analyst at IG Securities in Tokyo.

BoJ chief Masaaki Shirakawa will step down next month, three weeks earlier than planned after he butted heads with hawkish Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on policy matters. Abe's government has pledged to revive Japan's fading fortunes with big spending and aggressive monetary easing.

Currency rates hardly moved after official data earlier in the day showed Japan's recession-hit economy shrank in the last quarter of 2012.

The dollar was mostly lower against other Asia-Pacific currencies at Sg$1.2361 from Sg$1.2379 on Wednesday, to Tw$29.69 from Tw$29.72, to 1,084.55 South Korean won from 1,087.30 won and 40.62 Philippine pesos from 40.66 pesos.

The greenback firmed to 53.93 Indian rupees from 53.82 rupees and to 9,666 Indonesian rupiah from 9,644 rupiah while it was flat at 29.82 Thai baht.

The Australian dollar strengthened to $1.0352 from $1.0344 while China's yuan rose to 14.97 yen from 14.91 yen.