BUSINESS

Canadian dollar closes higher as crude oil tests US$50 a barrel level

01/05/2015 08:44 EST | Updated 03/07/2015 05:59 EST
The Canadian dollar closed higher Monday even as oil prices dipped below US$50 threshold for the first time since 2009.

The loonie was ahead 0.09 of a cent to 85.11 cents US.

February crude in New York slid $2.65 to US$50.05 a barrel, after going as low as $49.95. The slide continued the steady decline from summertime highs of around US$107 a barrel as markets deal with an oversupply issue.

Elsewhere on the commodity markets, March copper fell five cents to US$2.77 a pound while February bullion added $8.50 to US$1,194.70 an ounce.

The loonie had been lower for most of the session while the greenback advanced amid another round of worry connected with elections in Greece later this month.

The U.S. currency strengthened and the euro fell to the lowest level since March 2006, with new doubts raised about whether Greece will exit the eurozone following elections later this month.

Traders are weighing the outcome of the Greek elections that might be won by the anti-austerity Syriza party. Such a victory would raise doubts about whether the country will stick to the terms of its international bailout and stay in the euro bloc. Germany has warned Greece against reneging on the bailout conditions should Syriza win this month's general election.

Jitters about Greece helped push the euro down as low as US$1.1864 earlier Monday morning.

On the U.S. economic calendar for this week, investors will digest U.S. November factory orders data, purchasing managers data for last month covering the manufacturing and service sectors and the release of the minutes from last month's Federal Reserve meeting for indications of when the central bank might move to hike interest rates.

Markets will also digest Canadian data including merchandise trade, housing starts and building permits.

But it is the latest readings on employment that will focus markets.

Economists expect that the American economy created about 240,000 jobs during December and that the jobless rate ticked slightly lower.

In Canada, it is expected Statistics Canada will report that the economy cranked out about 10,000 jobs, after losing a similar amount during November.