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Loonie falls to lowest point since '09

The Canadian dollar fell more than a cent to close at a multi-year low Tuesday as the greenback shot higher on data showing the U.S. trade deficit fell in November to its lowest level in four years.

The greenback also strengthened a day before the release of the minutes from the Federal Reserve meeting last month.

The loonie lost 1.05 cents to 92.83 cents U.S., its lowest close since early November 2009. The currency was further pressured by data showing Canada's trade deficit worsened slightly in November, rising to $940 million from $908 million in October.

The U.S. trade gap dropped 12.9 per cent to US$34.3 billion in November as exports rose 0.9 per cent, aided by a 5.6 per cent rise in petroleum exports. Imports dropped 1.4 per cent.

The underline from the (Canadian) trade report was fairly weak, there wasn't a lot of encouragement within the underlying pieces of the report  "all in all it was taken fairly negatively," said Camilla Sutton, chief currency strategist at Scotiabank Global Banking and Markets.

"And the U.S. number was strong because of the oil side, and having reduced imports just highlights the uncertainties we have in Canada around our own oil sector."

It is a heavy week for economic data with the most closely watched data of the week coming on Friday. Economists forecast that the U.S. non-farm payrolls report will show that about 195,000 jobs were created in December.

The reading will help the U.S. Federal Reserve determine how fast it will cut back on a key stimulus program, its US$85 billion of monthly bond purchases. The central bank said last month it would taper those purchases by $10 billion starting this month.

Analysts suggest that the dollar could rally further if the Fed minutes show strong support by central bank officials at the end of last year to start tapering. Likewise, lukewarm support for tapering could push the U.S. currency lower.

The Canadian Press

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