* Cyprus uncertainty weighs on euro; yen edges higher
* Yen firms as investors seek safe haven
By Sophie Knight and Ian Chua
TOKYO/SYDNEY, March 22 The euro was knocked
lower and the safe-haven yen strengthened on Friday on news that
Russia had refused to provide financial assistance to Cyprus,
which is struggling to find a solution for its debt crisis.
The euro was last down 0.1 percent versus the yen at 122.28
yen, after having fallen to as low as 121.88 yen
Against the dollar, the euro held steady at $1.2903,
having slipped to as low as $1.2888 earlier on Friday.
Cypriot Finance Minister Michael Sarris was due to fly home
from Moscow on Friday after failing to win support in two days
of crisis talks with Russia on prolonging a bailout loan or on a
possible new financing package.
Cyprus needs to find 5.8 billion euros in new money by a
Monday deadline if it is to receive a 10-billion-euro EU bailout
to avert a collapse of its financial system that could push it
out of the euro zone.
"Although Russia refusing a loan is not big news, the market
is extremely nervy at the moment due to the lack of clarity
around the Cyprus situation," said Masashi Murata, senior
currency strategist at Brown Brothers Harriman.
"It's also difficult to sell the yen with investors trying
to cut their risk exposure ahead of the weekend, and also
because hopes for easing were offset by Kuroda not giving any
hints of an emergency meeting yesterday."
The dollar fell 0.1 percent to 94.80 yen.
The greenback had slid about 1.2 percent on Thursday as
investors covered their yen bearish bets after new Bank of Japan
governor Haruhiko Kuroda stopped short of calling an emergency
policy meeting ahead of the next scheduled policy review on
"Kuroda has repeatedly said he'll do as much as he can to
reach the 2 percent inflation target, so an emergency meeting
seemed quite plausible for a lot of people," said Makoto Noji,
senior strategist at SMBC Nikko Securities.
"But what the market has really put its chips on is easing
on a scale that exceeds what has been reported in the media.
That means there is a lot of room for disappointment," he added.