The Canadian dollar extended its recent downtrend against major currencies in early New York trading on Wednesday despite a rally in crude oil prices as traders flee from riskier currencies amid escalating tensions in Libya.
Libya holds Africa’s largest oil reserves and is the continent’s fourth largest producer and is an OPEC member, the cartel that produces about 40 percent of global supplies.
Although only a small part of Libya’s oil production appeared to be affected by the unrest so far, traders fear that similar revolts will spread to other Middle East oil producers and hurt global economic growth.
Light Sweet Crude Oil futures for April delivery rose to $96.77 a barrel, up $1.35 from yesterday’s close. On Tuesday, the oil surged over 6 percent on Middle East tensions to settle at $95.42.
The loonie reached a 13-day low of 1.3639 against the euro and 83.28 against the yen around 9:30 am ET, down from yesterday’s closing values of 1.3528 and 83.58, respectively. On the downside, the Canadian currency may target support levels at 82.80 against the yen and 1.3660 against the euro.
Eurozone industrial new orders rose 2.1% month-on-month in December, the European Union statistical agency Eurostat said today. Economists had forecast a decline of 1% following a revised 2.2% increase in November.
Compared to December 2009, industrial orders were up 18.5% in the final month of 2010. That beat an expected growth of 16.2%. In November, orders surged 20%.
Against the US dollar, the Canadian dollar fell to a 12-day low of 0.9940 around 9:10 am ET and this may be compared to yesterday’s close of 0.9909. If the loonie weakens further, 0.9990 is seen as the next likely target level. The pair is presently trading at 0.9930.
Looking ahead in the data front across the boarder, the National Association of Realtors is scheduled to release its report on existing home sales for January at 10:00 AM ET. Economists estimate existing home sales of 5.25 million for the month after posting a rate of 5.28 million for December.