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Canadian dollar at July, 2012 levels

The Canadian dollar was lower for a sixth session Monday amid concerns about weakening economic conditions.

The loonie fell 0.18 of a cent to 97.78 cents US, its lowest level since early July 2012.

February has not been kind to the loonie, which is down about 2.5 US cents for the month on a combination of factors.

These include sliding commodities, worries about the strength of the Canadian housing sector and the price differential between benchmark Brent crude and Western Canadian Select from the oilsands.

Traders are also concerned about U.S. economic strength, particularly as a March 1 deadline looms when more than US$85 billion in across the board spending cuts will be triggered.

Also, the U.S. dollar gained strength last week amid concerns the U.S. Federal Reserve may abandon its easy monetary policy sooner than many analysts have been predicting.

Finally, the loonie was hit at the end of last week as lower than expected retail sales for December pointed to a weakening economy while tame inflation figures indicated the Bank of Canada won't be raising rates any time soon.

The Canadian Press


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