Asian markets rallied yesterday and the euro held on to strong gains from New York after the European Central Bank chief said it would do “whatever it takes” to save the under-pressure single currency. The comments from bank president Mario Draghi sent shares in Europe and the US surging, while the borrowing rate for Spain fell back below the 7% danger level. Tokyo climbed 1.46%, or 123.54 points, to 8,566.64, Seoul was 2.62%, or 46.69 points, higher at 1,829.16, and Sydney finished 1.50%, or 62.1 points, higher at 4,209.8. Hong Kong rose 2.02%, or 382.17 points, to 19,274.96 while Shanghai was 0.13%, or 2.77 points, higher at 2,128.77, with concerns over the local economy capping gains on the mainland. Markets had already been lifted by the prospect of the soon-to-be launched European Stability Mechanism rescue fund being granted a banking licence, which would allow it to exchange bonds for ECB cash, boosting capacity without nations having to provide additional funds. The euro surged in New York to a two-week high of $1.2330 at one point while also advancing to ¥96.02. In late afternoon Asian trade it bought $1.2290 and ¥96.15. The single currency had dived earlier this week to a 12-year low of 94.08 yen and two-year trough of $1.2050. The dollar was at ¥78.28 in Asia, compared with 78.30 in New York. Gold was at $1,623.65 at 1040 GMT from $1,613.90 late Thursday. In other markets, Singapore closed down 0.2%, or 6.08 points, at 2,998.4, Taipei rose 2.21%, or 153.8 points, to 7,124.49 and Manila ended 1.3% higher, adding 66.99 points to 5,219.55. Wellington rose 0.45%, or 15.55 points, to 3,501.29, while Kuala Lumpur closed 0.06% higher, or 1.03 points at 1,624.94 and Jakarta closed up 1.98%, or 79.44 points, at 4,084.212. Bangkok rose 0.43%, or 5.09 points, to 1,178.01. from gulf times.