08/09/2012 09:07 EDT | Updated 10/09/2012 05:12 EDT

Loonie slightly higher after discouraging numbers from the global economy

TORONTO - The loonie was higher Thursday as questions about the global economy kept traders cautious.

The Canadian dollar ended the trading session at 100.81 cents US, up 0.27 of a cent and above parity with the U.S. dollar where it has been trading throughout the week.

A report from Statistics Canada said that the country's trade performance with the rest of the world worsened for the third consecutive month in June. The trade deficit nearly doubled to $1.8 billion during the month, from an upwardly revised $954 million in May.

Meanwhile, jobs numbers from the United States offered some insight into the economy, showing that U.S. employers were still hiring at a modest rate. The U.S. Labour Department said applications for unemployment benefits fell by 6,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 361,000, a level consistent with modest gains in hiring.

The less volatile four-week average rose by 2,250 to 368,250 in the week ended Aug. 4.

In China, hopes are that monetary authorities will do more to shore up economic growth in the world's second largest economy.

With inflation in China falling to 1.8 per cent in July from the previous month's 2.2 per cent, expectations are rising that Beijing may ease monetary policy to boost economic growth, which has slowed sharply this year. Separate figures on industrial production and retail sales confirmed the slowdown.

In commodities, the September crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange moved a penny higher to US$93.36 a barrel.

September copper moved up 3.5 cents to US$3.43 a pound while December gold increased $4.20 to settle at US$1,620.20 an ounce.