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CROSS-BORDER SHOPPING NOW GOES THE OTHER WAY

The weak Canadian dollar continued to be a drawing card for Americans in January, as the number of quick shopping trips to Canada climbed to a nine-year high.

Statistics Canada reports that Americans' same-day trips across the border -- visits seen as a barometer of cross-border shopping -- tallied 1.9 million, the highest level since 1986.

Greenback-carrying Americans also exercised the comparative power of the U.S. dollar, valued at an average of $1.29 to the Canadian dollar, by making an increased number of overnight stays. In January, Americans made 1.1 million overnight trips to Canada, up 2.8 percent from the December count.

Meanwhile, Canadians once again elected to stay at home where their money went further, rather than visit the United States for shopping excursions or vacations.

In January, Canadians' same-day trips remained relatively stable at just over 3 million. That is down 3.3 percent from 3.1 million trips in December and down by a seasonally adjusted 11.9 percent from a year earlier.

The Buffalo area's international crossings fared somewhat worse than the average, with shopping trips falling off by 17.2 percent in January 1995, compared to the January 1994 count. This January a total of 354,365 Canadians crossed the border locally for U.S. shopping trips, compared to 427,866 a year earlier.

The following tallies were logged at local bridges: Peace Bridge, 101,970, down 23.1 percent from the prior year's 132,657; Rainbow Bridge, 102,913, off 22.1 percent, from 132,162; Whirlpool Bridge, 54,351, down 15.6 percent from 64,431, and Lewiston-Queenston Bridge, 95,131, off 3.5 percent from 98,616.

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