Euro holds steady in Asia after Greece defaults

Pedestrians walk past an electronic stock board displaying the figure of the Nikkei 225 Stock Average. PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

TOKYO (AFP) - The euro held steady in Asia on Wednesday as calm prevailed despite the widely-expected default by Greece.

The common European currency bought US$1.1140 and 136.47 yen in Tokyo trade compared with US$1.1139 and 136.38 yen in New York late Tuesday.

The US dollar was at 122.49 yen against 122.44 yen.

Greece earlier missed Tuesday's deadline to repay the International Monetary Fund.

Athens has said it asked the IMF to extend the deadline for payment, a move that would have given the government financial room to continue negotiations with official creditors.

The Washington-based lender has not ruled on the request.

"Greece has officially missed its payment to the IMF, but markets are seemingly unconcerned," said Emma Lawson, senior currency strategist at national Australia Bank.

"We have passed that mattering for now. There is so much uncertainty, speculation, truth and partial truth that many markets are in stasis; waiting to see which way this goes," she said in a note.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras plunged bailout talks with creditors into chaos as he announced a referendum for Sunday on whether to accept bailout reform plans that he said would humiliate the country.

The European Central Bank's governing council is to meet again later Wednesday, with all eyes on whether it will continue to provide liquidity to Greek banks after a bailout programme officially expired on Tuesday.

The ECB at the weekend decided to keep the level of its emergency cash support to the indebted country's lenders.

"Most analysis suggests they will not do anything to worsen the situation, but it is likely to remain frozen," Lawson of National Australia Bank said.

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