08/05/2011 06:11 EDT | Updated 10/05/2011 05:12 EDT

Canadian Dollar Close: 102.24 Cents US, Greenback Weakened By Italy Market


TORONTO - The Canadian dollar closed higher Friday as the greenback weakened somewhat following a report that the Italian government is taking more measures to calm financial markets.

The loonie was ahead 0.15 of a cent to 102.24 cents US as Italy pledged to work for a constitutional amendment requiring the government to balance its budget in 2013, a year before previously scheduled.

Also, Premier Silvio Berlusconi announced that G-7 finance ministers will meet "within days" to talk about the European government debt crisis.

His heavily-indebted country has been the latest target of a lack of confidence by investors as Italy's borrowing costs rose above Spain's for the first time in more than a year.

Meanwhile, markets found little solace in the U.S. Labour Department's non-farm payrolls report for July which said employment rose by 117,000, higher than the approximately 80,000 jobs that economists had expected. Also, the jobless rate edged down 0.1 per cent to 9.1 per cent.

There was more good news: the data also showed that the economy created 56,000 jobs more than originally thought during May and June.

But the data wasn't enough to calm investors who worry about slowing global economic conditions and the eurozone government debt crisis.

Traders also took in a solid Canadian jobs report for July.

Statistics Canada reported that job growth for July came in at 7,100, less than half what economists expected. However, analysts pointed out that the details of the report were more encouraging.

For example, full-time jobs rose 25,500 and private sector employment surged by 94,500.

Also, the jobless rate declined 0.2 of a per cent to 7.2 per cent, the lowest since the end of 2008 and down from eight per cent a year ago.

Commodity prices were mixed as the September oil contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange gained 25 cents to US$86.88 after plunging more than $5 Thursday.

The September copper contract lost 12 cents to US$4.12 a pound.

But traders looking for safety pushed the December gold contract up $7.20 to US$1,666.20 an ounce.