Dollar firm in Asian trade ahead of US election

The dollar held firm in Asian trade Monday ahead of a nail-biter US presidential election and after an upbeat US jobs reports that offered some hope for the world's biggest economy.

The greenback changed hands at 80.46 yen in Tokyo, from 80.47 yen late Friday in New York where the jobs data helped push the dollar to a six-month-high 80.68 yen at one stage.

The euro bought $1.2822 and 103.11 yen on Monday, from $1.2835 and 103.30 yen late Friday.

The United States added 171,000 jobs last month, well above the consensus estimate of 125,000, highlighting a growing gap between the US and debt-hit eurozone which is suffering from high unemployment.

While the dollar could slide against the yen as traders adjust their positions ahead of the US election, it would likely stay above the 80-yen level, said Masafumi Yamamoto, chief forex strategist at Barclays in Tokyo.

The dollar has "remained firm despite a fall in US long-term Treasury yields following the release of non-farm payrolls Friday, as well as a relative rise in support for President (Barack) Obama in the aftermath of hurricane Sandy," he said.

An Obama win over Republican Mitt Romney in Tuesday's US election is considered a dollar-selling factor.

Markets were also looking to a European Central Bank policy meeting later in the week.

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

It firmed to 1,091.65 South Korean won from 1,091.15 on Friday, to Sg$1.2241 from Sg$1.2213, to 41.27 Philippine pesos from 41.16 pesos and to 54.13 Indian rupees from 53.64 pesos.

The dollar also edged up to 30.79 Thai baht from 30.72 baht, to 9,633 Indonesian rupiah from 9,630 rupiah and to Tw$29.24 from Tw$29.23.

The Australian dollar fell to $1.0359 from $1.0396 while China's yuan firmed to 12.85 yen from 12.82 yen.

-- Dow Jones Newswires contributed to this article --

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