GLOBAL MARKETS-Dollar firms on uncertainty over Spain bailout timing

* MSCI Asia ex-Japan down 0.1 pct, Nikkei opens down 0.1 pct

* RBA rate cut keeps Aussie pressured, supports equities

* China, South Korea on holidays

By Chikako Mogi

TOKYO, Oct 3 (Reuters) - The dollar firmed and most riskier assets edged lower on Wednesday as uncertainty over the timing of Spain's request for an international bailout added to worries about slowing global growth.

The MSCI index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan

and Japan's Nikkei stock average


dipped 0.1 percent. Markets in China and South Korea are closed for holidays on Wednesday.

In the foreign exchange market, the dollar index


which measures the greenback against a basket of six major currencies, inched higher while the euro was down 0.1 percent at $1.2907

. The euro has come off a three-week low of $1.28035 touched on Monday but remains well below a 4-1/2 month high of $1.31729 seen in mid-September.

The dollar was also up 0.1 percent at 78.255 yen

, a 1-1/2 week high.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said on Tuesday a request for European aid was not imminent, denying a report Madrid could apply for help as soon as this weekend.

"The potential timing (for a Spanish request) is obviously in flux and complicated by upcoming elections. Headlines and speculation are likely to continue to induce near-term market volatility," Barclays Capital said in a research note.

"We remain constructive on risky assets, but think better news is needed on both fronts for the rally to regain momentum," it said, referring to Spain and growth concerns.

Rajoy reached an agreement on fiscal consolidation with Spain's regional governments, but gave no details on how deficits would be balanced.

Spain's debt-saddled regional governments have magnified the burden of a central government already faced with its own huge deficit, pressuring the country's borrowing costs in open markets.

Market players are waiting for the Eurogroup meeting next Monday for potential progress on Spain. Ratings agency Moody's also said it will announce the results of a review of Spain's sovereign debt rating, currently just one notch above junk status, some time this month.


Italy, Spain market overview

Brent 24-hour technical outlook:


In Australia, shares

rose 0.5 percent to a five-month high after the Reserve Bank of Australia cut interest rates a day earlier to support the local economy against the headwinds of a global slowdown.

The Australian dollar

eased 0.2 percent to hover around a one-month low of $1.0252, pressured by the RBA's rate cut.

Other central bank policy meetings scheduled this week include ones for the European Central Bank, the Bank of England and the Bank of Japan.

After stronger-than-expected factory data from the United States, investors will focus on Friday's nonfarm payrolls data, the first key report after the U.S. Federal Reserve launched aggressive easing steps last month.

Cheaply available money was one of the factors behind robust U.S. auto sales last month, which saw their best performance in 4-1/2 years.

But generally weak economic conditions around the world, which prompted central banks to take more stimulus steps in the first place, have raised concerns that corporate earnings may shrink, pushing European shares lower on Tuesday. U.S. stocks ended largely unchanged in a volatile session.

U.S. crude

fell 0.3 percent to $91.62 a barrel and Brent

fell 0.2 percent to $111.27.

Spot gold

eased 0.2 percent to $1,771.69 an ounce. Expectations for a prolonged easy U.S. monetary stance lifted spot gold to $1,791.20 on Monday, its highest since mid-November last year.

(Editing by Edwina Gibbs)

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