Canadian dollar kicks off 2012 with parity in sight

TORONTO (Reuters) – The Canadian dollar started 2012 on a positive note on Tuesday, climbing to its strongest level against the U.S. dollar in nearly four weeks, as rising oil prices and decent global economic data boosted investor risk appetite. The risk-on mood in markets was spurred by signs of improvement in China’s manufacturing sector and a surprise drop in German unemployment early in the day, and then reinforced by U.S. construction and factory data signaling the economic recovery was gaining steam. Meanwhile, tensions between Iran and the West lifted U.S. …