Loonie hits lowest level of 2012
Canadian dollar passes below 97 cents
The Canadian dollar was trading below 97 cents US on Thursday, dragged down by weak commodity prices and discouraging news about the U.S. job market.
Employment firm ADP said the U.S. private sector created 133,000 jobs during this month, less than the 150,000 that economists expected.
Weak economic data from Canada's biggest trading partner often has a negative effect on the loonie since it signals lower demand for commodities such as oil and metals and manufactured goods.
The jobs figure came on the heels of news last week that the number of Americans filing for jobless insurance turned out to be higher than expected, coming in at 383,000 versus the 370,000 that economists expected.
"That weak data out of the U.S. combined with overall sentiment from Europe is pushing the loonie to the lowest point we've seen in a while," said Adam Button, a currency analyst with Forex Live. "Quite frankly I'm surprised the loonie has held up as well as it has."
The loonie fell as much as 0.6 of a cent to 96.56 cents US before closing at 96.81. May has been a tough one for the Canadian currency. It has tumbled almost five cents as worries about the future of the eurozone have resulted in traders avoiding riskier assets such as equities, commodities and resource-based currencies such as the Canadian dollar.
Much of the loonie's weakness is in fact a result of investors fleeing for other safe havens, namely the U.S. dollar. On Wednesday, the yield on a U.S. 10-year Treasury Bill hit the lowest point its been since the Second World War — a sign investors are so afraid of losing money that they're willing to take next to no return in exchange for a guarantee of safety.
Indeed, the yield for government bonds from Switzerland, Germany and Denmark have all hit negative values in the last week, meaning investors are willing to pay to have something safe hold their money because at least there's a guarantee to get it back.
"The clouds are darkening in the global economy," Button said. "We're seeing real stresses."
Crude prices lost another $1.38 with the July crude contract going for $86.44 a barrel in New York. Canada's economy, and the value of its currency,
The Toronto Stock Exchange was largely unchanged, up 11 points to 11,444 after a large sell-off the day earlier.
With files from The Canadian Press