TORONTO – The Canadian dollar was trading below 69 cents US early Friday for the first time since 2003 as crude oil futures dropped below US$30 a barrel.
The loonie traded as low as 68.74 cents US about five hours before the Toronto Stock Exchange opened. It was somewhat higher at 6:30 a.m., trading at 68.98 cents US — about two-thirds of a U.S. cent below the Thursday closing price.
The dollar was also down against the euro, British pound and Japanese yen.
On the commodity markets, February crude oil futures briefly traded below US$29.40 a barrel at about 5:30 a.m. The falling price of crude — from more than US$100 a barrel in the summer of 2014 — has been a major reason for the loonie’s fall.
The last time the loonie was worth less than 69 cents US was nearly 13 years ago, in April 2003.
With about three hours to go before regular trading on North American stock exchanges at 9:30 a.m., index futures were solidly positive: Dow Jones futures were up 227.64 points at 16,379.05, S&P 500 futures advanced 31.56 points to 1,921.84 and the Nasdaq futures gained 88.94 points to 4,615.0.
On Thursday, the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX index gained 165.62 points to close at 12,336.03, though it has still lost more than 900 points, or 7.1 per cent, since the Christmas break.
© 2016 The Canadian Press