Canadian dollar falls as oil prices hit lowest level since October

TORONTO – The Canadian dollar moved lower on Wednesday against a stronger greenback as the price of oil closed at its lowest level since early October.

The loonie was down 0.09 of a cent at 98.12 cents US.

The August crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange settled at US$81.80 a barrel, down $2.23, after the U.S. Energy Department reported higher supply levels. The agency said in its weekly report that crude supplies rose last week by 2.9 million barrels, or 0.7 per cent, to 387.3 million barrels, which is 6.4 per cent above year-ago levels.

August gold was off $7.40 at US$1,615.80 an ounce, while July copper was down half a cent at US$3.38 a pound.

The greenback added pressure as it strengthened against most other major currencies after the Federal Reserve said it would continue an economic stimulus program.

The Fed said it will continue the program, called Operation Twist, through the end of the year. The program is designed to lower long-term interest rates and to boost borrowing and spending. The Fed will sell $267 billion in shorter-term securities and replace them with longer-term bonds.

Statistics Canada said there was an average of 248,000 job vacancies in the country in the three-month period ended in March, up 19,000 from the same period in 2011.

However, it says there were just 5.8 unemployed people for every vacancy, down from 6.5 in March 2011. That was because of both an increase in vacancies and a decline in the number of unemployed people.