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Canadian dollars, also known as "loonies" are shown with U.S dollars. (Ryan Remiorz/THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Canadian dollars, also known as "loonies" are shown with U.S dollars. (Ryan Remiorz/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Dollar hits 3 1/2-month high, then falls Add to ...

The Canadian dollar closed lower Tuesday after hopes for improvement in the euro zone debt crisis sent the currency to a fresh three-and-a-half-month high.

The commodity-sensitive loonie had earlier benefitted from higher prices for oil and metals, but closed down 0.13 of a cent to 101.04 cents U.S. The currency had run up as high as 101.6 cents U.S. amid optimism that moves will be made to lower the borrowing costs of deeply indebted European countries.

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That had encouraged traders to take on riskier assets such as commodities, equities and resource-based currencies such as the Canadian currency.

There is a growing conviction that the European Central Bank will buy government bonds as a way to reduce borrowing costs, which had spiked earlier this year to unsustainable levels in countries such as Spain and Italy. The German central bank, the Bundesbank, is alone in opposing such a move and some traders are betting that a compromise will be reached.

Optimism about resolving the euro zone debt crisis spread to bond markets Tuesday morning as Spain’s Treasury sold $4.4-billion in a short-term debt auction that saw interest rates down sharply.

It sold $3.5-billion in 12-month bills at an average interest rate of 3.07 per cent compared with 3.92 per cent last month. It also sold $981-million in 18-month bills on a yield of 3.33 per cent, down from 4.24 per cent.

Borrowing costs have also fallen amid growing speculation that Spain, which is mired in deep recession, will seek a bailout.

The country has said it would consider such a move if the conditions were reasonable.

The September crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange gained 71 cents to $96.68 (U.S.) per barrel.

The September copper contract on the Nymex reversed Monday’s five-cent loss, climbing eight cents to $3.45 (U.S.) a pound.

December bullion rose $19.90 to $1,642.90 (U.S.) an ounce.

 
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