Canadian dollar pulls back as crude oil prices lose further ground

TORONTO – The Canadian dollar weakened on Thursday as falling oil prices returned to the forefront.

The loonie moved back 0.07 of a cent to 87.91 cents US, after news that Saudi Arabia reduced its January prices to U.S. and Asian customers.

Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils used by many U.S. refineries, fell to $69.64 on the ICE Futures exchange in London, which left North American prices moving back in response.

The January crude contract was 57 cents lower to US$66.81 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Crude prices have plunged around 35 per cent since mid-summer because of lower demand and a glut of supply, due in large measure to greatly increased production in the U.S. Midwest.

On Thursday, data from the Energy Information Administration showed that proved oil reserves rose nine per cent last year, a fifth consecutive year of increases.

Meanwhile, February bullion edged off $1 to US$1,207.70 an ounce, while March copper was ahead 4.3 cents at US$2.914 a pound.

On Friday morning, the loonie will find motivation from the latest U.S. and Canadian jobs data, which offers the latest insight into the direction of the economy.

In Canada, employment growth is expected to be relatively tepid with overall expectations to show 5,000 jobs added in November, while in the U.S. payrolls are anticipated to rise by 225,000.

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