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US dollar weakens in Asia trade on Fed easing signs

TOKYO -- The dollar edged down slightly in Asian trade on Monday after U.S. Federal Reserve chief Ben Bernanke hinted at further easing measures to boost the world's top economy.

The euro bought US$1.2567 in early European trade from 1.2576 in New York late Friday.

The European currency was also trading at 98.50 yen compared with 98.51 late Friday.

Dollar selling continued in Asia after traders pushed the unit lower in New York on Friday following Bernanke's keynote speech at a central banker summit in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

Bernanke pointed to a stagnant U.S. labor market as “a grave concern” and signaled he would push for easing measures — which tend to weigh on the dollar — when the Fed's policy committee meets later this month.

“In the current market sentiment, it's difficult to support the dollar against the yen,” said Teppei Ino, currency analyst at the Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi UFJ.

“There won't be any surprise if the dollar temporarily falls below 78 yen,” Ino added.

Traders have repeatedly flocked to the Japanese currency as a safe-haven unit owing to turmoil in the eurozone and an unsteady U.S. economic recovery.

But Japanese policymakers warned that the yen was overvalued and did not reflect the state of the lumbering Japanese economy, the world's third biggest.

The euro traded in a tight range as markets look to the ECB's policy meeting on Thursday.

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

It fell to SG$1.2475 from SG$1.2522 on Friday, to 55.42 Indian rupees from 55.69 rupees and to 1,130.90 South Korean won from 1,133.70 won.

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