The Canadian dollar dipped below 78 cents US and the Toronto Stock Exchange recorded another day of losses Friday after oil prices plunged.
The loonie hit a fresh six-year low of 77.99 cents US in the morning, before recovering to 78.28 at the close of trading. That’s still down 0.55 of a cent and marks a 13 per cent slide since last year.
The TSX was down 39 points to 14,631 as the energy sector shrank yet again.
The cause was lower oil prices, with West Texas Intermediate crude down $1.91 to $45.12 US a barrel, after fresh reports confirmed the glut of North American oil.
The International Energy Agency said U.S. oil production increased by 115,000 barrels a day in February. The U.S. is rapidly running out of places to store its surplus oil.
And despite cutbacks in the oilpatch, Canadian production also continues to rise.
There had been hopes that oil prices would stabilize in the $50 a barrel range, after dropping from around $100 last summer. But now some analysts are warning prices could keep falling.
"So I think we're heading towards the low 40s, maybe even high 30s before this is all said and done, said John Stephenson, president and CEO of Stephenson & Co. Capital Management.
The International Energy Agency warned that "behind the facade of stability, the rebalancing triggered by the price collapse has yet to run its course, and it might be overly optimistic to expect it to proceed smoothly."
The TSX and the dollar also came under pressure from unemployment figures released Friday in Canada. Statistics Canada reported Alberta had lost 14,000 jobs, though the overall job loss across Canada was about 1,000 jobs. The unemployment rate ticked up to 6.8 per cent.