08/03/2012 09:36 EDT | Updated 10/03/2012 05:12 EDT

Loonie Touches Parity As Both Gold, Oil Gain Traction

TORONTO - The Canadian dollar flirted with parity, but closed below the mark on Friday as commodities moved higher on U.S. jobs data that was better than expected.

The loonie ended up 0.52 of a cent at 99.81 cents US, while the U.S. dollar shifted lower as traders moved to other currencies.

Earlier in the session it had climbed as high as 100.19 cents US.

The Labor Department's July report said total U.S. nonfarm payrolls were up by 163,000, better than the 100,000 gain that was projected. But the unemployment rate rose to 8.3 per cent, up 0.1 per cent.

There was also some good news from the service sector, a broad part of the economy that includes banking, retail, health care and utilities.

The Institute for Supply Management reported that U.S. service companies grew at a slightly faster pace in July, with a reading of 52.6. Any reading above 50 indicates expansion.

In commodities, the September crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange rose $4.27 to US$91.40 a barrel.

August gold was up $18.60 to close the session at US$1,609.30 an ounce, while September copper increased 7.7 cents to US$3.37 a pound.

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