Loonie, TSX fall as crude prices weaken further

TORONTO -- The Canadian dollar continued to set fresh 11-year lows Friday as oil traded at levels not seen since the global economy was in the grips of a deep recession.

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The loonie was down 0.18 of a cent at 73.18 cents U.S. after the International Energy Agency said Friday that demand for oil will continue to grow next year but more slowly -- by 1.2 million barrels per day, down from 1.8 million bpd this year.

It later fell further -- to 72.96 cents U.S. -- as Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced a "nuanced" approach to keep Canada's housing market stable by increasing required down payments on house purchases above $500,000.

The last time Canada's dollar was below 73 cents U.S. was in mid-June 2004.

On equity markets, the Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX index was down 166.01 points at 12,850.58, shortly after North American markets opened.

In New York, the Dow Jones average of 30 stocks was down 276.13 points at 17,298.62, the broader S&P 500 index fell 29.37 points to 2,022.86 and the Nasdaq lost 66.89 points to 4,978.28.

On the commodity markets, the January contract for crude was down 81 cents at US$35.95 a barrel, the January contract for natural gas was down five cents at US$1.97 and the February gold contract was up $5.10 at US$1,077.10 an ounce.



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