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Loonie little changed on mixed Canadian employment data, strong U.S. jobs report

A Canadian dollar coin and an American dollar sit in front of a scale in Quebec City, on April 7, 2010. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot

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A Canadian dollar coin and an American dollar sit in front of a scale in Quebec City, on April 7, 2010. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot

TORONTO - The Canadian dollar closed little changed amid a weak employment report for May.

The loonie edged down 0.01 of a cent to 91.49 cents US as job creation figures for Canada came in above expectations, up 25,800 for the month. But Statistics Canada said the gains were due to part-time positions, and the unemployment rate edged up to seven per cent from 6.9 per cent as more Canadians went looking for work in May. The number of full time jobs fell by 29,000.

"Although today's number was much improved, it still leaves the six-month trend running an anaemic 3,000, suggesting some potential for catch up given expectations of an economic acceleration in Q2," said CIBC World Markets economist Nick Exarhos.

The employment news out of the United States was much better. The Labor Department said the American economy cranked out 217,000 jobs, roughly in line with expectations. That’s down from 282,000 in April, which was revised slightly lower. Despite the gains, the unemployment rate remained 6.3 per cent.

In other economic news, German industrial production edged up by a smaller-than-expected 0.2 per cent in April compared with the previous month, even as factory orders in Europe’s biggest economy strengthened. The figure was below economists’ expectations of a rise by 0.3 per cent or more.

Meanwhile, traders looked ahead to a raft of key Chinese data coming out next week including readings on inflation, trade and retail sales.

Ahead of those reports, The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund are urging China to focus on controlling risks from rapidly rising debt due to its reliance on credit-fuelled growth. The comments add to warnings by private sector analysts that China’s run-up in debt, especially since the 2008 global crisis, could lead to financial problems and disrupt economic growth that already is slowing.

Commodity markets were mixed in the wake of the jobs data with July crude in New York 18 cents higher to US$102.66 a barrel.

August bullion declined 80 cents to US$1,252.50 an ounce. July copper fell four cents to US$3.05 a pound.

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