(Reuters) - The euro hit a nearly nine-year low versus the dollar on Monday as investors bet on quantitative easing by the European Central Bank while Asian shares were subdued as soft manufacturing surveys soured the mood.

The euro fell to as low as $1.18605, its weakest level since March 2006, having fallen below an important support at $1.20. The common currency last traded at $1.1944, down 0.5 percent from late U.S. trade on Friday.

In an interview with German financial daily Handelsblatt, ECB President Mario Draghi said the risk of the central bank not fulfilling its mandate of preserving price stability was higher now than half a year ago.

"The market took his comments to mean that he is ready to adopt quantitative easing," said Shin Kadota, chief forex strategist at Barclays in Tokyo.