NEW YORK (Reuters) - The euro rebounded on Monday as investors took advantage of steep losses sustained during two days of dramatic selling, with the final push down to a fresh 11-year low coming after elections in Greece put an anti-austerity government in power.
Following the outcome of Sunday's vote, the euro hit its lowest against the U.S. dollar since September 2003 at $1.1098 in Asian trading, according to the EBS trading platform EUR=EBS. Greece elected, as expected, left-wing leader Alexis Tsipras of the anti-bailout Syriza party.
Tsipras’s party won 149 seats in the 300-seat Greek parliament, setting Athens on a collision course with international lenders and potentially threatening its place in the euro.
In midday afternoon New York trade, the euro was up 0.62 percent to trade at $1.1275, just off its high for the day of $1.1295.
U.S. trading activity dropped off significantly in anticipation of a major winter storm expected to hit late Monday and all day Tuesday.
“Everyone is really just concentrating on getting out of the office at this point. Market liquidity has died here so you can get things done but it is more difficult,” said one trader.
The euro, however, is not expected to run too much higher given that the European Central Bank’s announcement of outright money-printing last week had insulated European markets from the fallout of the Greek vote.
“Everything that was priced in for euro negative has happened. We are already at a stronger level for the dollar. I don’t see anything pushing the euro below $1.10 if the ECB and the Greek election couldn’t do it. There seems to be some strong buying interest in the $1.1150/1.12 area,” said John Doyle, director of markets at Washington, D.C.-based Tempus Inc.
The euro is still down 6.80 percent so far this year against the greenback. It recovered 1.12 percent against the yen to 133.54 yen EURJPY=EBS.
The dollar traded up 0.56 percent to 118.465 yen JPY=EBS.
The euro’s biggest gain was versus the Swiss franc EURCHF=EBS, against which traders have speculated the Swiss National Bank has intervened regularly since removing its 1.20 francs per euro cap on Jan. 15. At one point the euro rose over 3 percent before slipping back to 1.01450 francs, a gain of 2.74 percent on the day.
The dollar rallied 2 percent against the Swiss currency, topping out at 0.90100 franc CHF=EBS before slipping back to 0.89945 franc before New York traders headed home early.
Data on Monday showed sight deposits at the SNB rose sharply last week, normally an indicator the bank has been selling francs in the market.
The dollar advanced 5.78 percent to 67.95 Russian rubles RUB= after Standard & Poor's relegated Russia back to junk credit status for the first time in more than 10 years, citing weakened economic growth prospects.
“Three things have to change to make Russia investable again: a rebound and lasting rise in oil prices; a normalization in relations with the West, which likely needs a resolution over Ukraine; some real evidence of reform efforts/momentum at home in Russia,” said Tim Ash, an analyst at Standard Bank.
Additional reporting by Lidia Kelly in Moscow, Patrick Graham in London, Tomo Uetake in Tokyo and Naomi Tajitsu in Wellington; Editing by James Dalgleish