US dollar firms

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Tokyo - The dollar firmed against other currencies in Asia on Wednesday, extending gains on data showing US consumer confidence at a six-year high.

In Tokyo morning trade the greenback was at 102.34 yen against 102.25 yen in New York Tuesday afternoon.

The euro slipped $1.3816 from $1.3825 in US trade while fetching 141.38 yen against 141.36 yen.

“Gains in the US were supported by a solid consumer confidence reading,” National Australia Bank said in a note.

The Conference Board's index for March consumer confidence came in at 82.3 - its highest since January 2008 - from 78.3 in February and far better than the 78.9 expected.

The euro lost ground after the German Ifo index of business confidence fell for the first time in five months during March.

The euro also weakened after a slew of policy makers from the European Central Bank and the European Commission decried the strength of the common currency and offered measures to stem the risk of deflation.

Rates were hardly affected by news Wednesday that North Korea test-fired two medium-range missiles into the sea between Japan and the Korean Peninsula.

The move came a US President Barack Obama hosted a landmark Japan-South Korea summit and pledged “unwavering commitment” to Tokyo and Seoul in the face of Pyongyang's nuclear threat.

(Dow Jones Newswires contributed to this article) - Sapa-AFP

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