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Euro mixed in Asia trade over debt crisis

TOKYO--The euro was mixed in Asia on Thursday with investors seeking refuge in the safe-haven yen as anti-austerity protests in Spain and Greece raised fresh concerns over the eurozone debt crisis.

The euro bought US$1.2876 and 100.00 in Tokyo afternoon trade, compared with US$1.2870 and 100.04 yen late Wednesday in New York where the common currency lost ground because of risk aversion. The dollar changed hands at 77.62 yen against 77.70 yen.

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

It fell to 53.37 Indian rupees from 53.53 rupees on Wednesday, to 1,118.80 South Korea won from 1,121.68 won, to 41.88 Philippine pesos from 41.95 pesos, and to SG$1.2291 from SG$1.2314.

The dollar also dropped to 9,593 Indonesian rupiah from 9,600 rupiah.

China's yuan changed hands at 12.29 yen against 12.30 yen while the Australian dollar rose to US$1.0401 from US$1.0351.

However, traders were reluctant to sell the euro aggressively against the yen owing to expectations that Spain will formally request a bailout, said a senior dealer at a Japanese bank.

“While the topside remains limited, we need further euro-negative factors to push it down below US$1.2830 around the 200-day moving averages,” the dealer told Dow Jones Newswires.

Citibank Japan chief strategist Osamu Takashima said traders remained risk-averse after European bond markets saw borrowing costs rise for weak nations Wednesday while global stock markets seemed to have hit their peaks.

Tensions over harsh austerity measures have also spilled on to the streets of Spain and Greece.

Thousands of protestors rallied near the Spanish parliament for a second straight night Wednesday after a rough day on the markets again raised the likelihood of a full bailout and deeper economic pain.

The government is due to pass its 2013 austerity budget on Thursday, with 39 billion euros (US$50 billion) in savings, including an anticipated third straight year of salary freezes for civil servants.

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