Canadian dollar loses further ground, down sharply for week as oil tumbles

TORONTO – The Canadian dollar closed lower Friday as data from China and an international forecast of weak demand for oil further depressed crude prices.

The loonie fell 0.33 of a cent to a 5 1/2 year low of 86.42 cents US.

January crude in New York lost another $2.14 to settle at a five-year low of US$57.81 a barrel after a report that China’s factory output, although up 7.2 per cent in November for a year earlier, was down from October’s 7.7 per cent growth rate and September’s eight per cent rate.

China’s economic growth slowed last quarter to a five-year low of 7.3 per cent, below the official full-year target of 7.5 per cent. China’s leaders are try to steer the economy toward more sustainable expansion based on domestic consumption.

Also depressing prices was a revised 2015 forecast from the International Energy Agency. The IEA cut its forecast for global oil demand growth by 230,000 barrels per day to 900,000 barrels, citing lower expectations from oil-exporting countries.

Other commodities were mixed with February gold down $3.10 to US$1,222.50 an ounce while March copper was up a penny at US$2.93 a pound.

The dollar has tumbled almost a full U.S. cent this week as oil prices continue to tumble and analysts unable to say where the price bottom will be.