OTTAWA - The high-flying Canadian loonie may soon be joining the elite club of global reserve currencies.

The International Monetary Fund signalled in a new report it is considering asking foreign countries to report their holdings of Canadian and Australian dollars separately, which would technically make them global reserve currencies.

It would be the first addition to the list of five reserve currencies — the U.S. greenback, the Japanese yen, the euro, the British sterling and Swiss franc — since 1999.

Previously the two were lumped together in the "other currencies" category.

The notice was contained in an appendix of the new IMF report, which took note that at least two other countries held the Canadian and Australian dollars in their foreign reserves.

Bank of Montreal economist Doug Porter called the addition a "seal of approval" for Canada, but could carry some repercussions, both negative and positive.

"This more or less would make it official that Canada and Australia are seen as relatively safe harbours and places that countries feel comfortable keeping their foreign exchange (reserves) in," he said.

"I would suspect it could put even more upward pressure on the loonie, at least over the next year or two," he added.

The value of the loonie has flirted with par for the past year as investors increasingly view Canada's economy as a relatively safe harbour.

The loonie again traded above parity in markets Monday, a level that many exporters complain makes them uncompetitive in the global marketplace. The rise of the loonie in the past decade has also been blamed for the continued deterioration of Canada's manufacturing sector in Ontario and Quebec.

A higher value for the loonie, however, is a positive for Canadian tourists, businesses that import machinery and equipment, and helps inflation in check.

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  • Bank of Montreal Dollar - 1825

    Until the mid-19th century, Canada's future provinces used the "Canadian pound." Bit by bit, various jurisdictions began to switch to a metric system, and with it came the concept of the Canadian dollar. This Bank of Montreal-issued dollar bill is among the first bills called a dollar to have been printed.

  • Bank of Montreal Dollar - 1859

    Various banks printed their own currency until eventually the Bank of Montreal was charged with being the official issuer of the Canadian dollar, a practice that stayed in place until the Bank of Canada was created in the 1930s.

  • Bank of Toronto Dollar - 1859

    The Bank of Toronto (today known as TD Bank) was among many banks that issued Canadian dollars in the second half of the 19th century.

  • Ontario Bank Dollar - 1861

    Image courtesy of the Bank of Canada.

  • Province of Canada Dollar - 1866

    The province of Canada comprised Ontario and Quebec and existed from 1841 to 1867. It issued its own currency. Image courtesy of Bank of Canada.

  • Dominion of Canada Dollar - 1870

    With confederation in 1867, the first truly national Canadian dollar came into being. Image courtesy of the Bank of Canada.

  • Dominion of Canada Dollar - 1898

    Image courtesy of the Bank of Canada.

  • Dominion of Canada Dollar - 1911

    Image courtesy of the Bank of Canada.

  • Dominion of Canada Dollar - 1917

    Image courtesy of the Bank of Canada.

  • Dominion of Canada Dollar - 1923

    Image courtesy of the Bank of Canada.

  • Bank of Canada Dollar - 1935

    The Bank of Canada took over the issuance of currency from the Bank of Montreal when it was created in the 1930s. Image courtesy of the Bank of Canada.

  • Bank of Canada Dollar - 1937

    Image courtesy of the Bank of Canada.

  • Canada Dollar - 1954

    The 1954 dollar was the first to feature Queen Elizabeth II and the first to simply say "Canada" on it, rather than featuring the name of a bank, province or referring to the country as a "dominion."

  • Centennial Dollar - 1967

    Image courtesy of the Bank of Canada.

  • Canada Dollar - 1973

    This was the last paper dollar issued in Canada. It was in circulation until 1987, when the loonie replaced it. Image courtesy of the Bank of Canada.

  • The Loonie - 1987

    The loonie replaced the one-dollar bill in Canada in 1987. Image: CP

  • Canada 125 Loonie - 1992

    The Mint issued a special edition of the loonie in 1992 to commemorate the country's 125th birthday.

  • Vancouver Olympics Loonie - 2010

    An Inuit inukshuk graced the tail of this loonie issued in 2010 to coincide with the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver.

  • The Loonie - Anniversary Special - 2012

    The Royal Canadian Mint issued a special-edition version of the loonie in 2012 to commemorate the coin's 25th anniversary. Image: Royal Canadian Mint.