Canadian dollar sinks to five-year low

March 10th, 2009 - 11:30 am ICT by IANS  

Toronto, March 10 (IANS) The Canadian dollar sank to its lowest level in five years Monday amid continuing market slide on the opening day of the week.
The loonie (as the Canadian dollar is called), which has been diving against the US dollar with plunging oil prices, closed at 76.98 cents US for the first time since September 2004.

At one time during the day, the currency was trading as low as 76.53 cents US.

Since the fortunes of the Canadian dollar are linked to the nation’s vast oil and gas sector, it witnessed a huge rise int is value as global oil prices began their steep climb in 2007. It reached the historic high of 110 cents US in November 2007.

Since then, the Canadian currency has lost almost one third of its value against the US greenback, delivering a huge blow to sectors like tourism.

Though global oil prices rose marginally Monday, the loonie continued to dip against the greenback.

The Canadian markets, which had reached the lowest levels since 2003 last week, continued to dive for the third straight week amid more gloomy news from the nation’s housing sector.

The Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) composite index slipped 24.53 points to close at 7,566.94 point on worse-than-expected news from the nation’s housing sector.

Reports by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation Monday said that February sales declined to 134,600 units, from 153,500 in January. The housing sector, one the main engines of the Canadian economy, has been hammered by the downturn, with 129,000 people losing jobs in the sector in January alone.

More than 230,000 Canadians have lost jobs as the economy has shrunk by 3.4 percent in quarter ending January 31. The latest unemployment figures will be available Friday

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