Euro falls vs. dollar on Italy, growth concern

The euro traded at the lowest level against the dollar in almost three months as Italy moved toward more elections and before data forecast to show the region’s economy shrank in the fourth quarter of 2012.

The yen rose against most of its 16 major peers as China’s CSI 300 Index of equities dropped by the most in two years, boosting demand for haven assets. Australia’s dollar sank to an almost eight-month low against its U.S. equivalent after building approvals declined. The Dollar Index traded at almost its highest level since August. Italy, Germany and France will report monthly purchasing manager index figures tomorrow.

“Europe is being mainly driven by all the news we have on the policy and economic side,” Charles St-Arnaud, a foreign- exchange strategist at Nomura Holdings Inc. in New York, said in a telephone interview. “The end game following the Italian election isn’t exactly clear-cut yet. Most economies in Europe are expecting a slight downgrade in PMI tomorrow, which is weighing on the euro.”

The euro fell 0.1% to $1.3010 at 8:50 a.m. New York time, after touching $1.2967 on March 1, the lowest level since Dec. 11. The yen gained 0.2% to 121.67 per euro and was up 0.1% to 93.53 per dollar.

Krone, Won

The Norwegian krone strengthened the most in a week amid speculation the currency’s plunge to a seven-month low was overdone. It appreciated 0.6%, the most since Feb. 25, to 5.7189 per dollar before trading up 0.5% to 5.7241.

South Korea’s won fell the most in a month as slowing services and manufacturing growth in China damped the country’s export outlook. The currency declined 0.8%, the most since Feb. 8, to 1,093.55 per dollar before trading at 1,093.24.

The Australian dollar fell after an unexpected drop in home-building approvals in January added to speculation the Reserve Bank will cut interest rates this year. The so-called Aussie slid 0.5% to $1.0148, after falling to $1.0115, the weakest level since July 12.

The Dollar Index, which Intercontinental Exchange Inc. uses to track the greenback against currencies of six U.S. trading partners, was little changed at 82.307. It reached 82.509 on Feb. 1, its highest level since Aug. 20.

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