TORONTO - The Canadian dollar was sharply lower Friday amid a big miss in expectations for Canadian job creation last month.
The loonie fell 0.73 of a cent to 90.25 cents US as Statistics Canada reported that the economy shed 7,000 jobs during February. Economists had looked for a gain of 15,000 positions. The unemployment rate held steady at seven per cent.
The news was much better from the United States, where the economy created 175,000 jobs last month, well above expectations for 139,000 job gains. The unemployment rate rose to 6.7 per cent from 6.6 per cent.
The news was better from the trade front. Statistics Canada reported that Canada's trade deficit with the world narrowed from $922 million in December to $177 million in January. The agency said that merchandise imports declined 1.6 per cent while exports edged up 0.2 per cent in January.
In the U.S., the trade deficit increased to $39.1 billion, up 0.3 per cent from December’s revised $39 billion deficit as a rise in imports of oil and other foreign goods offset a solid increase in exports.
On the commodity markets, the April crude contract in New York was $1.06 higher to US$102.62 a barrel.
The commodity-sensitive loonie also lost ground amid losses in gold and copper.
Gold losses picked up after the release of the strong American jobs report and April bullion fell $17 to US$1,334.80 an ounce.
May copper tumbled 12 cents to US$3.09 a pound on Chinese growth concerns.
Analysts pointed to Chinese authorities allowing the country’s first corporate bond default. Investors in bonds sold in 2012 by Chaori Solar Energy Science
They say that move has fuelled speculation as to how many more companies may be in a similar situation and what negative impact that could have on the Chinese economy.