TORONTO — The Canadian dollar was little changed Thursday amid flat oil prices and hopes for strong job creation data from the United States and Canada.
The loonie was up 0.01 of a cent to 84.61 cents US.
Oil prices were stable after data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration showed that U.S. crude inventories declined by 3.1 million barrels last week. Analysts had expected supplies to increase by 380,000 barrels. The February crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange was unchanged at US$48.65 a barrel following a 72 cent rise.
Oil prices have tumbled more than 50 per cent from June, 2014, highs of about US$107, partly because of demand concerns. But a global glut of supply has particularly depressed prices. Prices have skidded 34 per cent just since late November, when the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries opted to leave production levels unchanged and analysts have largely given up trying to call a bottom to oil prices.
Metal prices were mixed with March copper unchanged at US$2.76 a pound while February gold rose $3.50 to US$1,214.20 an ounce.
There was optimism ahead of the release Friday of the U.S. government’s employment report for December after payroll firm ADP said Wednesday that the private sector created 241,000 jobs last month. Economists expect that a total of 240,000 jobs were created, down from 321,000 in November.
Canadian jobs data for December will also be released Friday and economists generally expect that the economy cranked out about 10,000 jobs last month.