Canadian dollar sails to 3-month high on U.S. jobs data

Fri Feb 3, 2012 4:46pm EST
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By Jennifer Kwan

TORONTO (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar bounced to its strongest level in just over three months on Friday as a surge in U.S. job creation boosted investor confidence about the outlook for the world's biggest economy.

The currency surged to C$0.9928 to the U.S. dollar, or US$1.0073, the strongest level since October 31, after data showed the American economy added 243,000 jobs, the most since last April. The figure easily beat economists' expectations for a gain of only 150,000.

The currency earlier hit a session low of C$1.0034 to the U.S. dollar following soft Canadian jobs data.

"The U.S. employment completely subsumed the Canadian equivalent and the general elation of strong economic data around the world drove risk currencies and assets higher, and the Canadian dollar ended soaring on the back of that," said Eric Lascelles, chief economist at RBC Global Asset Management.

The Canadian currency ended the session at C$0.9936 against the greenback, or US$1.0064, up from its Thursday finish at C$0.9996, or US$1.0004. The currency gained 0.7 percent for the week, its fourth weekly rise in a row.

Canada's economy created a negligible 2,300 net new jobs in the month, Statistics Canada said on Friday, a far cry from the 23,100 that market players had predicted.

The jobless rate ticked higher to 7.6 percent from 7.5 percent, the highest level since April 2011.

Analysts in a Reuters poll had predicted 23,100 new positions and a jobless rate holding steady from December at 7.5 percent.   Continued...