The Canadian dollar closed lower Wednesday as growing nervousness about the nuclear crisis in Japan sent spooked traders into the perceived safe haven of U.S. Treasurys.
The loonie was down 0.08 of a cent at $1.0083 (U.S.) after earlier rising as high as $1.0185 cents.
Nervousness was ratcheted higher after EU Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger told a European Parliament committee that a Japanese nuclear power plant heavily damaged in last Friday's quake and tsunami is "effectively out of control, and that the situation could continue to deteriorate."
Also, the chief of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission said all the water is gone from one of the spent fuel pools at the plant. This means there's nothing to stop the fuel rods from getting hotter and ultimately melting down.
The weak Canadian dollar performance followed a volatile session Tuesday that sent the loonie down more than a U.S. cent.
Analysts say markets will remain volatile until there is more clarity on whether Japanese emergency workers can get their damaged nuclear reactors under control.
Crude oil prices remained volatile, rising Wednesday as soldiers and riot police drove out hundreds of anti-government protesters in Bahrain's capital of Manama, a day after emergency rule was imposed in the violence-racked Gulf kingdom.
The latest violence in the Mideast raised worries about oil supply disruptions in the oil rich Persian Gulf. At the same time, production from Libya has almost entirely been cut amid a month-long battle between government and rebel forces.
The April crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange gained 80 cents to $97.98 a barrel. Oil prices have been under heavy pressure since last Friday as traders believe the world's third-biggest economy will be using much less oil. A massive flight to safety Tuesday had pushed crude prices down $4.
Metal prices also rebounded as May copper in New York jumped 6 cents to $4.20 a pound.
Bullion prices also increased with the April gold contract in New York ahead $3.30 at $1,396.10 an ounce.