TORONTO - The Canadian dollar closed below parity with the greenback Monday for the first time since early August as hurricane Sandy cast a shadow over global trading with New York equity and bond markets closed.
The loonie closed down 0.28 of a cent at 99.92 cents US.
There had been plans to allow electronic trading to go forward Monday on the New York Stock Exchange, but with all mass transit shut down in and out of Manhattan, the risks were determined to be too great. The NYSE will remain closed Tuesday.
The Nasdaq and the CME Group in Chicago were also closed. CME Group’s Nymex headquarters and New York trading floor are located in a mandatory evacuation zone in Manhattan. CME's New York trading floor will be closed, but its electronic markets were functioning.
U.S. bond trading will also be closed Tuesday. The Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association called for an early close to bond trading Monday, at 12 noon EDT. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note was 1.72 per cent, compared with 1.75 per cent late Friday.
The New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq said they intend to reopen on Wednesday and would keep investors updated.
The dollar has lost ground lately amid growing pessimism about the global economic outlook and the commodity-sensitive currency has, in turn, been pressured by falling prices for oil and copper.
Also, "last Friday’s decision by Moody’s to put six of the Canadian banks on review for a downgrade, noting concerns about high consumer debt levels and elevated housing prices, macro economic risks and capital markets activities, was a reminder of some of the vulnerabilities of the Canadian economic fundamentals," observed Camilla Sutton, chief currency strategist at Scotia Capital.
Sutton added she continues to be bullish on the Canadian dollar in the medium term and calls the latest slippage a temporary blip.
The dollar has also been pressured by questions about how welcome Ottawa is to foreign takeovers of Canadian resource companies.
Ottawa has rejected a proposed $6 billion purchase of Progress Energy Resources Corp. by the Canadian arm of Malaysia’s state-owned oil company, Petronas.
The Canadian dollar has been pushed higher in the past by big corporate deals.
That’s because a foreign buyer acquiring a Canadian company will need Canadian currency to close the deal, boosting demand for the loonie on financial markets.
"We’ve seen the collapse of the Petronas deal in Canada," added Sutton.
"So that’s important in the sense that it highlights that the rules for foreign takeovers are still a bit uncertain, the appetite for foreign takeovers by state owned entities is less clear, that’s also had an impact on Canada."
On Monday, Petronas has extended the deadline for its takeover for Progress Energy Resources in the hopes it can convince Ottawa the deal would be of net benefit to Canada.
Nexen Inc.’s (TSX:NXY) controversial $15.1-billion takeover by China National Offshore Oil Co. is also being weighed by Industry Canada.
Commodities were lower with the December crude contract closing down 74 cents to US$85.54 a barrel.
December copper lost six cents to US$3.49 a pound while December gold bullion was down $3.20 to US$1.708.70 an ounce.