C$ weakens to a 3-day low on lower oil, U.S. jobs data

Fri Apr 1, 2016 9:52am EDT
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TORONTO (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar weakened to a three-day low against its U.S. counterpart on Friday as crude oil prices slumped and after stronger-than-expected U.S. jobs data.

U.S. crude CLc1 prices were down 3.68 percent to $36.93 a barrel after Saudi Arabia said it will freeze its oil output only if Iran and other major producers do so. [O/R]

The U.S. dollar extended its gains against the loonie after the release of solid U.S. employment data that could allow a cautious Federal Reserve to gradually raise interest rates this year.

At 9:23 a.m. EDT, the Canadian dollar CAD=D4 was trading at C$1.3101 to the greenback, or 76.33 U.S. cents, much weaker than Thursday's close of C$1.2987, or 77.00 U.S. cents.

The currency's strongest level of the session was C$1.2969, while it touched its weakest since at March 29 at C$1.3134.

However, the loonie ended the first quarter 6.5 percent higher than at the end of 2015.

It touched a 5-1/2-month high at C$1.2859 on Thursday after monthly gross domestic product (GDP) data showed the economy grew by a much larger-than-expected 0.6 percent in January, further denting expectations for a for a Bank of Canada rate cut.

The data has led to reassessment by analysts of Canada's growth outlook.

BMO Capital Markets has "more than doubled" its first-quarter growth projection to an annualized 3.3 percent after the January GDP data, according to a research note on Friday, much faster than the Bank of Canada's 1 percent estimate.   Continued...

Arrangement of various world currencies including Chinese Yuan, Japanese Yen, US Dollar, Euro, British Pound, Swiss Franc and Russian Ruble pictured in Warsaw January 26, 2011. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel