Loonie advances amid higher oil prices, traders look to Canadian, U.S. jobs data | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Loonie advances amid higher oil prices, traders look to Canadian, U.S. jobs data

Canadian dollars (loonies) are pictured in Vancouver, Sept. 22, 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

TORONTO - The Canadian dollar was higher Thursday amid a string of solid U.S. economic news this week and rising oil prices.

The loonie was up 0.14 of a cent to 93.79 cents US after sinking a quarter of a cent Wednesday to its lowest level since May 2010 after the Bank of Canada left rates unchanged. Its commentary left markets with the impression that rate hikes are still a long way off.

Traders looked to Friday and the release of the November employment report for Canada. Economists expect that about 7,500 jobs were created.

But the major event of the week is the release of the U.S. government's non-farm payrolls report for last month.

Expectations for job creation have moved higher after payroll firm ADP reported Wednesday that the private sector added 215,000 jobs last month. Prior to that report, markets had expected job creation of about 183,000.

But while a stronger report would be welcomed as another sign of an improving economy, it would also raise concerns that the Federal Reserve is getting close to cutting back on its US$85 billion of monthly bond purchases, a program that has kept long term rates low and supported a strong equity market rally this year.

There was further positive news on the U.S. jobs front Thursday. The Labor Department reported that applications for jobless benefits, which are a proxy for layoffs, dropped 23,000 last week to 296,000.

Other data out Thursday morning showed that U.S. gross domestic product for the third quarter was revised upward to an annualized rate of 3.6 per cent from 2.8 per cent.

On the commodity markets, oil prices advanced for a second day after a much larger than expected drawdown of U.S. supplies last week. The January crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange gained 23 cents to US$97.43 a barrel.

Metals were lower as March copper declined three cents to US$3.22 after the American jobs data, along strong housing and trade reports, helped push the metal up eight cents on Thursday.

December bullion fell $24.10 to US$1,223.10.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2013
The Canadian Press

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