Euro stronger in Asia as Greece deal clinched

The euro was stronger in Asian trading on Tuesday as investors breathed a sigh of relief on news of a long-awaited bailout deal for Greece, easing fears Athens could tumble into bankruptcy.

The 17-nation currency bought $1.2984 and 106.79 yen in Tokyo afternoon trade after briefly topping $1.30 for the first time in about a month.

That was up from $1.2971 and 106.38 yen in New York trade late Monday, although the euro eased slightly after the Greece announcement.

"The deal had been priced in by the market," said Dai Sato, senior vice president of foreign exchange at Mizuho Corporate Bank.

The euro was facing some downward pressure amid profit-taking and investors selling the currency following confirmation of the Greek agreement, dealers said, with the focus shifting to a budgetary impasse in Washington.

Markets are keeping an eye on the so-called fiscal cliff of spending cuts and tax hikes due to come into effect on January 1, possibly throwing the United States into recession unless a bitterly divided US Congress reaches a new spending deal.

Following marathon talks, eurozone finance ministers struck a deal with the International Monetary Fund to slash Greece's massive debt, freeing up the payment of about 43.7 billion euros in loans to Greece from December 13.

A statement after 13 hours of Eurogroup talks gathering finance ministers, the IMF and the European Central Bank, said the rescue loans would be paid in four installments through the end of March, conditional on the implementation by Athens of reforms agreed with creditors.

"The market's focus will now shift to economic trends of not only Greece but of the entire eurozone including Germany," said Masashi Murata, senior forex strategist at Brown Brothers Harriman.

The dollar, meanwhile, gained to 82.22 yen from 81.98 yen following remarks by Japan's main opposition leader Shinzo Abe, who made renewed calls for aggressive easing by the Bank of Japan.

Abe is the front runner to become Japan's next prime minister following December 16 elections.

The dollar was mixed against other Asia-Pacific currencies.

It firmed to 55.77 Indian rupees from 55.49 rupees Monday and to 30.69 Thai baht from 30.66 baht while it was flat at 9,638 Indonesian rupiah.

The greenback fell to Sg$1.2214 from Sg$1.2230, to Tw$29.08 from Tw$29.11, to 1,084.10 South Korean won from 1,085.10 won, and to 40.91 Philippine pesos from 41.01 pesos.

The Australian dollar rose to $1.0480 from $1.0456, while China's yuan bought 13.18 yen against 13.21 yen.

-- Dow Jones Newswires contributed to this article --

--

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