Loonie slides to lowest level since 2009 as economic growth slows

TORONTO – The Canadian dollar hit fresh, multi-year lows Friday morning as economic growth in November came in worse than expected.

The loonie fell 0.69 of a cent to 78.61 cents US, its lowest level since the mid of March 2009, as gross domestic product in November declined 0.2 per cent, worse than the flat showing that economists had expected.

GDP had risen 0.3 per cent in the prior month.

The agency said the drop extended across major sectors including manufacturing and mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction.

Other data out Friday morning showed the American economy also slowing at the end of last year. Growth in the fourth quarter missed expectations, with U.S. GDP for the period coming in at 2.6 per cent, down sharply from a five per cent rise in the third quarter. Economists had generally expected a reading of 3.1 per cent.

On the commodity markets, March crude climbed 16 cents to US$44.69 a barrel.

March copper edged up a penny to US$2.47 a pound while April gold gained $10.10 to US$1,274.70 an ounce.

The Canadian dollar has had another tough week, down almost two cents amid sliding prices for oil, copper and gold and increasing speculation that the Bank of Canada will follow up last week’s surprise quarter-point reduction with another cut in the near future.

The currency has lost about 7 1/2 cents this month.