* Euro falls below 200-day moving average, more losses
* Concerns before Greek austerity vote dent sentiment
* U.S. election uncertainty underpins dollar
By Wanfeng Zhou and Daniel Bases
NEW YORK, Nov 5 The euro fell to a near
two-month low against the U.S. dollar on Monday on uncertainty
over a Greek vote on reforms needed to secure international aid
and as investors awaited the U.S. elections on Tuesday.
The technical outlook for the euro was also bleak after the
currency broke below its 200-day moving average, suggesting
further near-term losses.
Greece's government presented its latest austerity package
needed to secure international aid to parliament on Monday, but
will struggle to get it approved in a vote expected on Wednesday
as an exasperated public launches a week of strikes and
"The main driver of the story is euro concerns. Mostly I
think the fear is something is going to go wrong with the Greek
austerity vote," said Steven Englander, head of G10 strategy at
Approval of the reforms and the passage of the 2013 budget
are crucial to unlocking 31.5 billion euros in aid from an
International Monetary Fund and European Union bailout that has
been on hold since the summer.
"Without the additional funds, the country would be put back
on the path toward an exit from the euro," said Karl Schamotta,
senior strategist at Western Union Business Solutions in
The euro hit as low as $1.2765 on Reuters data,
breaking below a reported options barrier at $1.2800 and stop
loss sell orders at $1.2780 to mark its lowest since Sept. 11.
It was last at $1.2791, down 0.35 percent on the day.
Traders said if Greece failed to pass the reforms package,
the euro could drop to $1.2625/50. But Schamotta said given the
stakes, "it is unlikely that the proposed legislation will fail"
and a successful vote may help the euro drift up toward $1.30
before the end of the week.
Chartists said the euro, having broken below the 200-day
moving average around $1.2828, could face further losses,
although near-term support is seen at the Sept. 11 low of
If the euro closes below the 200-day moving average it would
be the first time since September and could signal a departure
from its recent $1.28 to $1.32 range.
The European Central Bank meets this week, with no policy
moves expected, but many investors said the bank will need to
further loosen monetary policy given the deteriorating economic
Ken Dickson, investment director of currencies at Standard
Life Investments in Edinburgh, which helps manage $263.9
billion, said the ECB's quarterly Bank Lending Survey released
last week suggests banks are still tightening lending conditions
in Europe, which makes it harder for the economy to recover.
Euro weakness drove the dollar to a two-month high against a
basket of currencies. The U.S. dollar index rose as high
as 80.843, the strongest since Sept. 7, and last was up 0.18
percent to 80.735.
Uncertainty about the U.S. presidentail election, in which
President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney are
neck and neck in the polls, encouraged safe-haven flows into the
With the Republicans seen retaining control of the House of
Representatives, victory for Obama would be seen as raising the
risk of policy paralysis over the fiscal cliff of scheduled
spending cuts and tax rises.
If Congress cannot agree to new arrangements, about $600
billion in government spending cuts and higher taxes will kick
in early next year, all of which could hurt U.S. economic growth
and underpin safe-haven assets such as the dollar.
"Oddly enough, what looks like a particularly bad outcome
for the U.S. might be a better outcome for the U.S. dollar,"
The yen, often sought after during times of uncertainty,
gained. The dollar slipped 0.20 percent to 80.28 yen,
having hit a four-month high of 80.67 yen on Friday, around a 50
percent retracement of its decline from March to September.
"Dollar/yen is the most sensitive to the outcome of the U.S.
elections," said Beat Siegenthaler, currency strategist at UBS
in Zurich. "While expectations of a Romney win have helped the
dollar rise above 80 yen, there has been some paring back of
Some in the markets say Romney is opposed to the Federal
Reserve's bond-buying program, which has anchored yields. So if
he won, Treasuries could sell off, driving yields and the dollar