TORONTO – The Canadian dollar was sharply lower Friday as jobs data for April showed a big decrease in employment.
The loonie fell 0.6 of a cent to 91.8 cents US as Statistics Canada reported that the economy cut 28,900 jobs, against expectations of a gain of about 12,000. It was also a huge turnaround from the previous month when the economy cranked out 43,000 jobs, which means 14,000 jobs were added over the two-month period.
The unemployment rate held steady at 6.9 per cent.
The participation rate was a bit lower than expected, coming in at 66.1 per cent versus the 66.3 per cent rate that economists had forecast.
The Canadian dollar had charged ahead almost 2/3 of a US cent Thursday to a four month high in the wake of a positive reading on housing starts.
Markets had also been encouraged by China’s April trade data that showed an improvement in exports. Exports rose 0.9 per cent from the previous year, compared with a 6.6 per cent decline in March. Imports also grew after a contraction in March but at a subdued level.
On Friday, there was some positive inflation news from China.
Consumer prices in the world’s second-largest economy rose 1.8 per cent over a year earlier, down from March’s 2.4 per cent increase, giving the government more leeway if needed to stimulate the slowing economy.
On the commodity markets, June crude in New York was ahead 27 cents to US$100.53 a barrel.
July copper was unchanged at US$3.06 a pound while June bullion gained $3.50 to US$1,291.20 an ounce.
© The Canadian Press, 2014