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Euro rises in Asia ahead of ECB policy meeting

TOKYO -- The euro was mixed in Asia Thursday as investors turn their attention to a European Central Bank (ECB) policy meeting later in the day, after weak inflation data fuels speculation of a rate cut.

The single currency inched up to 143.08 yen from 142.96 yen in New York Wednesday, while it edged up slightly to US$1.3766 from US$1.3765.

The dollar rose to 103.94 yen, from 103.85 yen.

The dollar was stronger against other Asia-Pacific currencies.

It firmed to 11,303 Indonesian rupiah from 11,300 rupiah on Wednesday, to SG$1.2629 from SG$1.2596 and to 1,057.67 South Korean won from 1,055.90 won.

The greenback also rose to 60.14 Indian rupees from 59.67 rupees, to 32.49 Thai baht from 32.38 baht and to 45.00 Philippines pesos from 44.77 Philippine pesos.

The Australian dollar weakened to 92.18 U.S. cents from 92.35 cents and the Chinese yuan was unchanged at 16.73 yen.

Speculation had swirled last month that the ECB would cut interest rates to counter fears of deflation, but some relatively positive data on eurozone growth recently has seen most analysts tip it to stand pat without introducing any stimulus.

Investors will be paying close attention to a regular post-meeting news conference by bank chief Mario Draghi to see if he hints at future measures.

“I think the safe bet would be to refrain from aggressive trading until Draghi is over,” a senior dealer at a major bank in Tokyo told Dow Jones Newswires.

Also on the radar is Friday's U.S. non-farm payrolls report, which will give a handle on the state of the world's largest economy after severe winter weather hit hiring and growth over the past few months.

Upbeat data would be likely to give the greenback a boost.

“Expectations that Friday's jobs data will be rosy is high, so we would see another aggressive dollar/yen (round of) buying kicking in,” the bank dealer said.

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