Canadian dollar advances amid mixed commodities, traders look to U.S. jobs data

TORONTO – The Canadian dollar closed higher Thursday as the American currency softened somewhat against other major currencies after steadily gaining strength in recent weeks.

The commodity-sensitive loonie was ahead 0.07 of a cent to 89.58 cents US as oil and metal prices broke through important levels. Prices have been pressured by a rising U.S. currency and worries about a faltering global economy

The November crude oil contract in New York was up 28 cents to US$91.01 after earlier breaking through $90 a barrel for the first time since April, 2013, tumbling as low as $88.18. Nymex crude is down around nine per cent year-to-date.

The December copper contract closed down four cents to a six-month low US$3 a pound.

The loonie had gained just over one-fifth of a cent on Wednesday after the greenback weakened amid a weaker than expected read on U.S. manufacturing during September.

Prior to that, the Canadian currency had a dreadful September, losing over 2 1/2 US cents as the U.S. dollar strengthened amid growing speculation that the U.S. Federal Reserve could move to hike interest rates next year sooner than expected.

Meanwhile, there was positive weekly U.S. jobs data a day ahead of the release of the U.S. government’s monthly employment report for September.

The Labor Department says number of people seeking U.S. unemployment benefits dropped 8,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 287,000, as the total number of Americans collecting benefits dropped to its lowest level in more than eight years.

Economists expect the U.S. jobs report Friday to show the economy created about 215,000 jobs during September.

Canadian jobs data for September will be released Oct. 10.

Elsewhere on the commodity markets, December bullion dipped 40 cents to US$1,215.10.