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Canadian dollar equals US currency after 30 years

22 September 2007 at 00:39 | 1927 views

By Abayomi Charles Roberts in Edmonton,Canada.

For the first time in over 30 years, the Canadian dollar is at par with the United States dollar. By opening day in global financial markets on Thursday September 20, 2007, the US dollar was worth One Canadian dollar. The US dollar has been stronger or worth more, for decades. It recently started losing value against other convertible currencies like those of Britain, Germany and Japan. The trend has been much the same in relation to the pan-European currency, the Euro. The British pound, for instance is now twice as strong as the US dollar.

The Canadian dollar had been weaker than the American dollar for several years now. Lately, it has been gaining ground on the US dollar, especially after the American-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. The conflict may have contributed to a steady rise in oil prices. Petroleum and gas are among Canada’s major exports. The recent increase in their prices boosted the international trade earnings of the country. The price of petroleum hovered around a record high of about US$ 83 per barrel by September 20, 2007, according to Business News Network (BNN).

The last time the two currencies were equal in value was in November 1976. CAD$ or Cdn$ denote the Canadian dollar. The Bank of Montreal first printed it in 1817. It became official on January 1, 1858, in the then Province of Canada.

Canada is former colony of Britain and a current member of the British Commonwealth. However, according to official records, the North American nation “adopted the dollar instead of the (British) Pound Sterling due to the prevalence of Spanish dollars in North America in the 18th and early 19th century.”

Canadians use both coins and bills (bank notes). The dollar is equal to 100 Canadian cents. There are coins of One, Five, 10 and 25 Cents. Each coin has a nickname: penny, nickel, dime and quarter, respectively. There are also One dollar and Two-dollar coins. They too are nicknamed ‘Loonie’ and Toonie,’ respectively. The Royal Canadian Mint issues Canadian coins while the Bank of Canada issues bills or bank notes.

The ‘Buck’ is another name for the Canadian dollar. The word ‘Loonie’ distinguishes it from other currencies like the US dollar. Loonie is widely used in the context of foreign exchange trading and the currency markets.

Canada is officially bilingual: English and French are both official languages. In Canadian French, the currency is ‘Le Dollar’ and the slang terms include ‘piastre’ or ‘piasse’, which is the equivalent for ‘buck.’ The French equivalent for ‘Loonie’ is ‘Huard.’ The loon is the animal that appears on the face of the Canadian One-dollar coin. The loon is a duck-like diving bird that feeds on fish.

The wording on Canadian Bank notes is in both official languages. On the loonie (coin), one side has the picture of the Queen of England, Canada’s monarch. As of mid-2005, her name and title appear in Latin. ‘Elizabeth II D G Regina.’ D G means ‘Dei Gratia.’ The entire inscription means “Elizabeth II, by the Grace of God, Queen.”

According to Canada.com, One Canadian dollar was approximately equal to US$ 0.9876, at the Inter-bank rate. That was by noon (Eastern Time) on Thursday September 20, 2007. This is the same as US$1.00 = $1.01311CAD.

In Sierra Leone, the official bank rate should be $1.00CAD = Le2, 973.58. Sierra Leone is a former British colony and current member of the Commonwealth. Before independence in April 1961, Sierra Leone used British currency.

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