20 September 2007: TORONTO - The Canadian dollar rose above parity with the U.S. dollar for the first time in 31 years on Thursday as the Canadian currency's commodity-fueled rise was helped by a sharply falling greenback.
Canadian bond prices fell alongside U.S. treasuries.
The Canadian dollar rose as high as C$0.9996 to the U.S. dollar, or US$1.0004, according to Reuters data, before dipping back below the level.
At 11 a.m. (1500 GMT), the currency was at C$1.0003 to the U.S. dollar, or 99.97 U.S. cents, up from C$1.0152 to the U.S. dollar, or 98.50 U.S. cents, at Wednesday's close.
The historic level, last hit in November 1976, follows a 62 percent rise from early 2002, largely fueled by surging oil and metals prices and the broad decline of the U.S. dollar.
It was the latter influence that drove the gains on Thursday, as the greenback hit a record low against the euro, weakened by the U.S. Federal Reserve's 50 basis point rate cuts on Tuesday, and concerns that further easing could follow.
The Fed made the move to shield the U.S. economy from a deepening housing slump and credit market turbulence.
"It was a developing environment that was very bearish U.S. dollar but it didn't really seem to unfold right away," said David Watt, senior currency strategist at RBC Capital Markets, referring to the rate cuts.
Oil prices, which have contributed to an exploration and production boom in Canada's Western provinces, hovered just off record levels hit on Wednesday. U.S. light crude was steady just above $82.
Gold prices, which also help boost the Canadian dollar due to Canada's gold exports, hit a 28-year high.
Watt said strategists are now trying to determine how far past the key level the Canadian dollar will go before retracing.
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