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Plunging loonie means higher prices for travel, food

File photo of loonies and American dollars. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson.

Those about to take off on vacation may not not be so thrilled about the loonie’s latest dive and experts are predicting it’s about to get even worse.

The Canadian dollar fell below 81 cents U.S. on Thursday and most believe it hasn’t reached bottom yet.

“We could soon see 75 cents U.S. which would be more than a six-year low,” 680News Business Editor Richard Southern said.

The Canadian dollar’s descent will mean those looking to book the annual family trip for March Break will end up paying a lot more.

“I would say it’s going to be 10 per cent more,” Ruby Silvertown, president of The Travel Network, said. “If they’re booking, say, with Disney World, they’ll end up paying 10 per cent more on their money.”

A comparison of costs for a flight to Orlando, Fla.
A comparison of costs for a flight to New York City.

The falling loonie will likely translate into a bigger grocery bill — especially if you’re into fruits and veggies. For example, by the summer, expect to pay another 17 cents for a pint of raspberries

“I suspect that retailers will adjust their prices as soon as they can,” said Sylvain Charlebois, associate dean at the College of Business and Economics at the University of Guelph.

Food distribution experts suggest shoppers will see a five-per-cent increase in food and vegetable prices this summer.

“The average family will be compelled to pay about $400 for the same amount of groceries compared to last year,” Charlebois said.

There could be a silver lining in all this, especially for those looking for stay close to home. A low dollar and low gas prices could mean a boom for local tourism.

“Definitely good for Canada because a lot of Americans are planning trips to Canada,” Silvertown said. “So, that’s a good thing.”