Euro stands firm against major currencies in Asia despite ratings


TOKYO — The euro rose against major currencies in Asian trade Tuesday as investors welcomed stronger-than-expected figures on China’s economic growth, dealers said.

The euro stood at US$1.2747 in Tokyo afternoon trade, up from US$1.2677 in London on Monday. It also gained to 97.66 yen from 97.26. It had slipped at one point on Friday in New York to US$1.2624 — a level last seen in August 2010 — following Standard & Poor’s downgrades of nine eurozone countries, including France. The dollar was at 76.60 yen Tuesday, edging down from 76.72 in London. In New York, financial markets were closed on Monday to mark Martin Luther King Jr day. The single currency was up as players sold the dollar on the back of a rise in Asian equities, which in turn triggered stop-loss orders as dealers betting on a decline in the unit moved to cover their positions. China said Tuesday gross domestic product rose 8.9 percent in the fourth quarter, slower than in the third quarter but still exceeding analyst expectations of an 8.6 percent rise. The market also welcomed a smooth French short-term bond sale. Paris successfully sold 8.59 billion euros’ worth of short-term bonds Monday, paying a lower interest rate than at a previous similar auction despite the loss of its triple-A credit rating.