Canadian dollar little changed amid U.S. fiscal cliff worries, mixed commodities

TORONTO – The Canadian dollar was slightly lower Thursday as traders focused on fiscal cliff concerns.

The commodity-sensitive currency dipped 0.02 of a cent to 100.86 cents US.

The fiscal cliff refers to the double-whammy of steep tax increases and spending cuts set to click in at the beginning of 2013. The combination would erode already weak U.S. economic growth and likely send the economy back into recession, taking other global economies down along with it.

U.S. President Barack Obama was to resume budget talks with Congress after cutting short his Hawaii vacation. Congressional officials said Wednesday they knew of no significant strides toward a compromise over a long Christmas weekend.

Commodities were mixed with the February crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange rose 21 cents to US$91.19 a barrel.

March copper was unchanged at US$3.60 a pound after rising five cents Wednesday. The gain, the largest in four weeks, came after workers rejected a wage proposal at BHP Billiton’s Escondida mine in Chile, the world’s biggest source of the metal viewed as an economic barometer.

February bullion was off $3.60 to US$1,657.10 an ounce.