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Traders avoid risk ahead of elections

The Canadian dollar was lower Monday morning as traders avoided riskier assets such as commodities and resource-based currencies such as the loonie ahead of Tuesday's presidential election.

The loonie fell 0.11 of a cent to 100.33 cents US.

The election appears to be shaping up to be a cliff-hanger, though most opinion polls indicate that President Barack Obama may have the edge over Mitt Romney in crucial swing states.

"It truly looks like a dead heat at this stage," observed Mark Chandler, head of Canadian FIC Strategy at RBC Dominion Securities.

After the election, attention will turn to dealing with the looming fiscal cliff facing the U.S. economy.

The "fiscal cliff" refers to a variety of tax hikes and massive budget reductions that will come into effect at the end of December unless Republicans and Democrats can come together with an alternative budget plan. Economists warn such a shock could send the economy back into recession. International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde recently warned that Canada would not escape the fallout from that.

"A split outcome is likely to create market uncertainty and a temporary period of U.S. dollar strength, however it is not a medium-term driver and January is likely to bring at least some political compromise in order to avoid the four per cent drag on GDP that the cliff implies," said Scotia Capital chief currency strategist Camilla Sutton.

The Canadian Press

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