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Canadian dollar hits a new high

Toronto, Jan 15 (IANS) The Canadian currency hit a new high Thursday, rising to a three-month high against the US dollar.

Supported by steady commodity prices, the loonie – as the Canadian dollar is called – rose as high as 97.61 cents US. The loonie, which is expected to reach parity with the US dollar any time this year, has gained as the greenback has slipped on poor US retail sales data.

Since sinking to 77 cents US in March 2009, the Canadian loonie has risen more than 20 percent agaisnt the US dollar. The loonie almost reached parity with the greenback in October last when it touched 98 cents US Oct 14.

But it retreated on fears of government intervention as the rising currency was – and is – harmful to the country’s recession-hit manufacturing sector.

Market analysts expect the loonie to reach parity with the US dollar anytime this year as the greenback continues to slide on the US government debt and subsequent fears of recession.

Commodities and crude form the bulk of Canadian economy and its exports. As commodity prices rise and investors shed the security of the US greenback on positive economic news, the Canadian currency is set for parity with the US dollar any time.

Thursday’s surge by the Canadian dollar is line with performance by other commodity-linked currencies, including the Australian dollar.

Even as the Canadian loonie surged Thursday, the markets retreated as energy stocks slipped on falling oil prices. The Toronto Stock Exchange is the largest energy market, with more than 400 energy companies traded on it.

The TSX composite index, which is poised to cross the 12,000-mark under the on-going momentum since the year-end, slipped 49.18 points to close at 11,804.38.

Since sinking to almost 7600 points in March 2008, the market has rebounded more than 35 percent. But it still remains far away from the historic 15,000-point mark the TSX crossed in June 2008.

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