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Canadian dollar tumbles more than a cent following dismal October jobs data

TORONTO – The Canadian dollar fell more than a full US cent Friday morning in the wake of a jobs report that widely missed expectations amid slowing global economic conditions.

The loonie tumbled 1.15 cents to 98.05 cents US as traders also took in weak U.S. employment data for October.

Statistics Canada reported that the economy shed 54,000 jobs overall during October. Most of the losses occurred in the manufacturing and construction trades.

Economists had expected a moderate increase in employment of 15,000 after September’s surprising 61,000 pick-up, although that was somewhat inflated by returning education workers.

The jobless rate came in at 7.3 per cent, 0.2 percentage points higher than September.

“It is too early to draw a direct link to the volatility in global financial markets as the European sovereign debt crisis rages on,” said RBC assistant chief economist Dawn Desjardins.

“To be sure, additional declines in November and December would suggest that Canadian companies are feeling the pinch from falling export demand and are reacting to the uncertainty generated from outside Canada’s borders.”

Meanwhile, the U.S. Labour Department reported that the economy created about 80,000 jobs last month, which was close to expectations of 95,000. The jobless rate was nine per cent, down from 9.1 per cent in September.

Job growth for the last two months was also revised higher. The report showed that an additional 104,000 jobs were created during August and September.

Meanwhile, markets were relatively calm at week’s end on relief that Greece will not hold a referendum on its latest rescue deal.

Markets were volatile earlier this week after Greek prime minister George Papandreou stunned markets by calling the referendum. His plan increased investor fears of a disorderly Greek debt default and the country’s possible exit from the eurozone.

However, uncertainties over Greece remain as Papandreou’s government faces a confidence vote in Parliament later in the day.

Commodity prices weakened following the U.S. jobs report with the December crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange up 51 cents to US$94.58 a barrel.

The December copper contract on the Nymex was unchanged at US$3.59 a pound.

Bullion prices dipped with the December contract down $6.80 to US$1,758.30 an ounce.