Loonie ends higher as U.S. shutdown enters fourth day

TORONTO — The Canadian Press

A sign on the National Mall tells visitors of the closings do to the federal government shutdown in Washington. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

The Canadian dollar closed higher amid fading hopes for a quick end to a partial U.S. government shutdown that was in its fourth day on Friday.

The loonie gained 0.32 of a cent to end at 97.16 cents (U.S.).

Investors continue to hope the shutdown will be short-lived.

But concerns have risen as Republicans in the House of Representatives continue to insist on changes to so-called Obamacare while President Barack Obama refuses to consider any deal linking his signature health care legislation to routine legislation needed to fund the government.

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Investors worry the shutdown will carry on and collide head-on with an Oct. 17 deadline where lawmakers have to agree on an increase to the country’s debt ceiling or the world’s largest economy may default on its debt payments.

While anxiety levels have risen, traders have avoided drastic moves.

“Today, markets are relatively quiet shifting in different directions and lacking a clear theme,” observed Scotia Capital chief currency strategist Camilla Sutton in a note.

“The U.S. government shutdown and looming Oct. 17 debt ceiling deadline are clear focuses but so far the market has not panicked over the risk.”

The U.S. government’s employment report for September was supposed to be released Friday, but the publication of the data has been postponed because of the government shutdown.

Commodities were mixed with the November crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange rising 53 cents to $103.84 a barrel. Oil prices advanced as offshore oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico braced for tropical storm Karen. Some 20 per cent of U.S. oil production is sourced from the Gulf of Mexico.

December copper was up 3 cents to $3.30 a pound while December bullion was down $7.70 to $1,309.90 an ounce.