Euro gains in Asia ahead of ECB meeting

The euro rose in Asian trade Monday as markets look to eurozone talks this week and after a long-awaited bailout deal for Greece, while the dollar weakened ahead of key economic data.

The 17-nation eurozone currency fetched $1.3033 and 107.34 yen in afternoon Asian trade, up from $1.2982 and 107.07 yen in New York late Friday.

The dollar, meanwhile, slipped slightly to 82.33 yen from 82.48 yen.

Euro sentiment was boosted after Germany's parliament on Friday overwhelmingly approved billions of euros in international aid for Greece, handing a much-needed financial boost to Athens as it battles against bankruptcy.

European finance ministers meet in Brussels later Monday for two-day talks focused on European-Union issues, including cross-border banking supervision.

But the euro's movement "would be limited after a direction towards aiding Greece has been shown", said Masafumi Yamamoto, chief currency strategist at Barclays Capital.

Markets are also looking to a European Central Bank meeting this week.

The US ISM manufacturing index due Monday is "expected to show a worsening from the previous month" which could weigh on the dollar, he said in a note to clients.

The persistently strong yen, seen as a safe haven from turmoil in Europe and a wobbly US economic recovery, has been losing steam in recent weeks.

It took a hit after Japan's main opposition leader Shinzo Abe vowed to pressure the Bank of Japan into more aggressive easing measures if he is elected as the country's prime minister following polls later this month.

Abe has been widely tipped to defeat the government of Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, which on Friday approved an 880 billion yen ($10.7 billion) stimulus package ahead of the December 16 elections that his ruling party is widely expected to lose.

However, the hawkish Abe has been softening on some of his earlier comments in the face of widespread criticism over the easing plans.

"With Mr. Abe toning down lately, the market is looking for its next cue," an option dealer at a major Japanese bank told Dow Jones Newswires.

The dollar was mixed against other Asia-Pacific currencies.

It firmed to 54.62 Indian rupees from 54.57 rupees Friday, to 1,083.30 South Korean won from 1,083.07 won and to 40.85 Philippine pesos from 40.81 pesos.

It fell to Sg$1.2203 from Sg$1.2205, to 9,605 Indonesian rupiah from 9,624 rupiah, to 30.66 Thai baht from 30.69 baht, and Tw$29.02 from Tw$29.08.

The Australian fell to $1.0400 from $1.0429 while China's yuan was flat at 13.21 yen.

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