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Euro edges up in Asia ahead of Greek presidential vote

The euro edged up in Asia on Monday as lawmakers in debt-laden Greece embark on a final bid to elect a new president and avoid a snap election that could undermine its international bailout.

In Tokyo, the single currency strengthened to $ 1.2188 and 146.61 yen, from $ 1.2179 and 146.59 yen in New York on Friday.

The definitive round of voting later Monday to choose a successor to President Karolos Papoulias comes during last-ditch efforts by Prime Minister Antonis Samaras to get the government’s candidate elected and avert early polls.

If no president is chosen, a general election will automatically be triggered.

European Union and International Monetary Fund officials fear an early poll would be won by the anti-austerity, radical leftist Syriza party and could undo many of Greece’s fiscal reforms.

But analysts said currency markets have largely factored in the success of a presidential vote, while upbeat US data has been supporting the dollar, which was slightly lower at 120.31 yen on Monday, against 120.37 yen in US trade.

“There will be no change in the underlying trend of a stronger dollar,” said Shinji Kureda, head of FX trading group at Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp.

Expectations of a mid-2015 interest rate rise by the US Federal Reserve have been boosting the dollar on expectations that the Bank of Japan could go in the opposite direction and further expand its already huge monetary easing programme.

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

It rose to 12,465.00 Indonesian rupiah from 12,394.00 on Friday, to Sg$ 1.3223 from Sg$ 1.3221, to 32.93 Thai baht from 32.91 baht, and to 63.69 Indian rupees from 63.62 rupees.

It also advanced to Tw$ 31.85 from Tw$ 31.71 and to 44.77 Philippine pesos from 44.70 pesos.

The greenback weakened to 1,097.60 South Korean won from 1,099.23 won.

The Australian dollar bought 81.32 US cents against 81.24 cents, while the Chinese yuan was at 19.33 yen from 19.36 yen.

— Dow Jones Newswires contributed to this article —

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