UPDATE 1-Canada minister says currency dive offers opportunity

Tue Jan 14, 2014 11:26am EST
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By Leah Schnurr

TORONTO Jan 14 (Reuters) - Canada's manufacturing sector is happy about the weakening of the country's currency, which presents "remarkable opportunities," the government's junior finance minister said on Tuesday, suggesting Ottawa is not upset by the slide.

"I think ... the manufacturing sector (is) quite pleased that we have a dollar that the value is down from what it was a number of months ago," Kevin Sorenson, secretary of state for finance, told reporters after giving a speech in Toronto.

His comments were similar to those made earlier this month by the finance and industry ministers, suggesting the Conservative government is not overly worried by the Canadian dollar's recent steep fall.

The Canadian dollar lost ground every day last week and touched a more than four-year low against the greenback on Friday after news of heavy job losses in December. It closed slightly higher on Monday at C$1.0846 to the greenback, or 92.20 U.S. cents.

A strong currency in the years following the global financial crisis has often been cited as a problem for the country's export sector, which does business primarily with the United States.

"I would say that with the dollar being low there is remarkable opportunity," Sorenson said. "We're an exporting country and as you know by far the majority of everything we manufacture here and everything we grow here we export and so there's opportunity."

Canadian authorities do not intervene in the foreign exchange market except in extreme circumstances in which volatility is believed to be destabilizing the financial system.   Continued...