The Canadian dollar headed above 75 cents US for the first time since late November 2015 on Friday amid optimism over U.S. jobs and strong export figures.
The loonie was up half a cent to 75.06 cents US on Friday at the close of trading. It sank below 69 cents on Jan. 19, prompting bearish forecasts that it could sink to 59 cents, but it has been rising in the past two weeks amid signs of strength in gold, oil and the stock markets.
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There was good news on Canadian trade on Friday, with Statistics Canada reporting exports up one per cent on the month in January and 7.3 per cent on an annual basis.
Nick Exarhos of CIBC welcomed the export figures as evidence the low loonie is finally helping to stimulate growth.
"What we are seeing is the strongest export categories are tied to final goods categories and things that would be most sensitive to a depreciation in the Canadian dollar – motor parts and consumer goods," he said..
"Things aren't as dark as they once seemed on the Canadian economy," he added.
Another significant development was the U.S. jobs report, which showed 242,000 new American jobs were created last month, well ahead of expectations. More employed consumers in the U.S. are thought to be more likely to buy Canadian goods and services, helping Canada's economy to grow.
In a note to investors today, TD Economics said it had revised its outlook for Canadian GDP growth in 2016 to 2 per cent on the strength of stronger exports, especially to the U.S.
That U.S. report also indicated salaries are not expanding, despite jobs growth, and that has helped lower expectations for the U.S. greenback.
TSX rises for 7th day
The TSX achieved its seventh straight day of gains. The Toronto index was up 92 points at the close to 13,215. That's the highest level of the year for the TSX, after selling off heavily for several weeks starting in late December.
Higher oil prices contributed to the optimism. West Texas Intermediate crude, the main North American contract, rose $1.64 to $36.22 US a barrel. That's an eight-week high for crude.
The prospects for more stable oil prices are improving, with news that the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will meet with other major producers March 20 in hopes of reaching agreement on an output freeze.