Canada's currency advanced to its strongest in three months versus the US dollar as payrolls in America, the nation's biggest trade partner, rose more than forecast and its jobless rate fell to the lowest since 2009.
The currency, called the loonie for the image of the aquatic bird on the C$1 coin, extended gains as another report showed US service industries grew at the fastest pace in a year. It had weakened earlier after data showed Canada's employers added fewer jobs in January than economists forecast. The loonie gained for a fourth week, its longest winning streak since October, as appetite for risk increased.
"Canada's major trading partner had data that came out that was very positive, and that has impacted a risk-on sentiment," said David Watt, senior currency strategist at Royal Bank of Canada's RBC Capital Markets unit in Toronto.
The Canadian currency appreciated 0.6 per cent to 99.34 cents per US dollar in Toronto and reached 99.28 cents, the strongest since October 31. The loonie, which declined 0.4 per cent earlier to C$1.0034, gained 0.9 per cent last week. One Canadian dollar buys $1.0066.
The currency strengthened beyond its 200-day moving average against the greenback, now 99.63 Canadian cents, for the first time since September.
In technical analysis, the use of charts to predict stock moves, surpassing a moving average is a signal an asset may continue to rise.
The loonie may now advance to 98.92 Canadian cents per dollar and then to 98 cents, RBC's Watt said.
The loonie strengthened against the majority of its 16 most-traded counterparts. South Africa's rand and Mexico's peso were the top performers, while the US dollar and yen fell versus most major peers as haven demand waned.
"The Canadian dollar reversed all of the weakness that we saw after the labour-force survey in Canada, which was relatively weak," Charles St-Arnaud, an economist and foreign-exchange strategist at Nomura Securities in New York, said in a telephone interview.
Stocks climbed, with the Standard & Poor's 500 Index rising 1.5 per cent and the MSCI World Index advancing 1.1 per cent.
Canada's government bonds dropped for a third day, pushing the yield on the benchmark 10-year note up the most this year. It climbed as much as nine basis points, or 0.09 percentage point, the biggest jump since December 20, to 2.03 per cent, the highest level since January 26.
It closed at 2.02 per cent. The yield difference between the securities and comparable US Treasuries narrowed to nine basis points, from 12 on Friday.
The loonie erased losses as US Labour Department data in Washington showed US payrolls swelled by 243,000 jobs last month.
Canada's jobless rate rose to 7.6 per cent in January, from 7.5 per cent in December. Employers added a net 2,300 jobs, following a revised gain of 21,700 in December, the nation's statistics agency said yesterday. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg News had forecast the unemployment rate would hold steady and that 22,000 positions would be added.
"Another disappointing number," said Blake Jespersen, director of foreign exchange at Bank of Montreal in Toronto, in a tele-phone interview.
The loonie touched a level stronger than parity with the US dollar last Thursday for the first time since November. It slid 2.3 per cent in 2011.
The currency rose 1.1 per cent against the greenback last week as commodities gained after the Fed pledged to extend its freeze on US interest rates.
The benchmark has been zero to 0.25 per cent since December 2008, compared to Canada's 1 per cent rate. Fed policy makers said the option for further moves to stimulate the economy remained open.
Canada's dollar gained 2.6 per cent over the past three months against nine developed-nation counterparts monitored by Bloomberg Correlation-Weighted Currency Indexes.