Euro dives to nine-year low as US dollar surges

A cashier counts euro banknotes in a shop in Vilnius, Lithuania. The single currency tumbled to its lowest since early 2006 in Asia on Monday as a wave of stop-loss sales were tripped on the break of major chart support, sending the U.S. dollar flyin
A cashier counts euro banknotes in a shop in Vilnius, Lithuania. The single currency tumbled to its lowest since early 2006 in Asia on Monday as a wave of stop-loss sales were tripped on the break of major chart support, sending the U.S. dollar flying higher against a range of competitors. -- PHOTO: REUTERS 

SYDNEY (Reuters) - The euro tumbled to its lowest since early 2006 in Asia on Monday as a wave of stop-loss sales were tripped on the break of major chart support, sending the US dollar flying higher against a range of competitors.

The euro was quoted as low as US$1.18605 on trading platform EBS and at US$1.1883 on Reuters, compared with a trough of US$1.2002 on Friday.

A thin market greatly exaggerated the move when support at US$1.2000 gave way and triggered automatic sales, said dealers. The dive briefly took the euro under the 2010 trough around US$1.1875.

The single currency was last quoted at US$1.1940, but pricing was very erratic.

The dollar also surged against the Swiss franc and sterling, extending a recent bull run as markets wagered a relatively healthy U.S. economy will lead the Federal Reserve to raise rates sooner than other major central banks.

The dollar was quoted as high as 1.0087 francs, from 1.0000 franc late in New York on Friday. Sterling sank as low as US$1.5211, levels last seen in mid-2013.

Traders said the move on Monday was mostly related to positioning, though euro sentiment was hardly helped by continued speculation about the possible exit of Greece from the single currency.

Reports over the weekend suggested that Germany now believed the euro zone would be able to cope with a Greek exit, or "Grexit", if necessary.

Other currency pairs were relatively calm, with the dollar steady at 120.53 yen on Monday. The dollar index was up 0.4 per cent at 91.473.