FOREX-Dollar falls after Obama victory, fiscal cliff looms

Wed Nov 7, 2012 4:16am EST

Related Topics

* Obama re-election dents dollar, lifts riskier currencies

* Obama seen supportive of Federal Reserve's QE

* But Congress still divided, raising worries over fiscal cliff

* Greece parliament vote in focus for euro

By Jessica Mortimer

LONDON, Nov 7 (Reuters) - The dollar fell on Wednesday after U.S. President Barack Obama's re-election for a second term, which was seen ensuring Federal Reserve quantitative easing will be in place.

But analysts said the dollar could soon resume its uptrend trend if safe-haven flows are prompted by growing worries over the looming U.S. "fiscal cliff". The country risks policy paralysis over a sharp fiscal tightening due to start next year unless a deal is reached in Congress to avert it

The end of uncertainty about the election result lifted equities and riskier currencies, helping the higher-yielding Australian dollar rise to its highest in nearly seven weeks and the Canadian dollar to a three-week peak.

The dollar was down 0.3 percent against a basket of currencies at 80.374, slipping further from Monday's two-month high of 80.843.

The euro was up 0.4 percent at $1.2856, having hit a high for the day of $1.28765.

But the euro risked coming under selling pressure on uncertainty before a Greek parliamentary vote on austerity measures necessary to secure the next tranche of bailout cash, without which the country faces bankruptcy.

"There's a bit of relief that there was a clear result in the U.S. presidential election, it's removed uncertainty which is benefiting pro-cyclical currencies in particular," said Ian Stannard, head of European currency strategy at Morgan Stanley.

"But this is likely to be short-lived, especially for the euro due to caution about Greece and Spain."

The Democrats retained a majority in the Senate but the Republicans held control of the House of Representatives, which could lead to tough negotiations over the "fiscal cliff", potentially prompting safe-haven flows into the U.S. dollar.

The knee-jerk reaction to Obama's re-election, however, was positive for equities and riskier currencies because the Republicans had expressed opposition to quantitative easing.

"There had been some concern in the run-up to the election that a Romney victory would translate to premature monetary (and fiscal) tightening, so today's outcome should reinforce expectations for easy policy to be in place for longer," Citi analysts said in a note.

The Australian dollar gained 0.4 percent to hit $1.0480, its highest since Sept. 21, extending gains it made after the Reserve Bank of Australia surprised some market players by not cutting rates on Tuesday.

The U.S. dollar also fell against the Canadian dollar to C$0.9875.

Against the yen the dollar fell to as low as 79.81 yen, nearly a full yen below its four-month high of 80.68 yen hit last week, before bouncing back slightly to 80.23 yen, still down 0.1 percent on the day.

The dollar's drop came as the 10-year U.S. Treasuries yield dropped as much as seven basis points to 1.68 percent .

GREECE FOCUS

The euro bounced from a two-month low of $1.2763 hit on Tuesday to rise back above its 200-day moving average, a key chart level, at $1.2827.

However, it stalled ahead of another chart indicator, the top of the daily Ichimoku cloud, around $1.2878.

Greece's coalition government hopes to overcome its own divisions to push through parliament on Wednesday the austerity package needed to avert bankruptcy.

Prime Minister Antonis Samaras is expected to narrowly win support for the cocktail of budget cuts, tax hikes and labour reforms, but the smallest party in his coalition will oppose the measures, leaving him with a margin of just a handful of votes.

Meanwhile, the market remained concerned that Spain could delay seeking international aid, which could weigh on the euro.

While analysts think some sort of a "fiscal cliff" compromise can be reached by the end of the year between the Democrats and Republicans, investors are worried about a repeat of a showdown last year that led to downgrade of the U.S. credit rating.

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