TORONTO _ The Canadian dollar was lower Thursday amid a strong increase in building permits.
The loonie was down 0.13 of a cent to 91.5 cents US of a cent to cents US after charging ahead almost four-tenth of a cent Wednesday in the wake of a much better than expected trade surplus for June.
On Thursday, Statistics Canada said building permits worth $8 billion were issued during June, up 13.5 per cent from May. However, most of the increase was in the non-residential sector.
Traders looked ahead to Friday and the release of the July jobs report. Economists generally expect that 25,000 jobs were created during the month.
Overseas, the European Central Bank said that it is leaving benchmark interest rate unchanged at a record low of 0.15 per cent. The decision was widely expected, in part because the ECB has little room to cut with rates so close to zero. Interest will turn to the upcoming press conference of ECB President Mario Draghi. In particular, investors will be interested to hear what he says about the economic impact of the Ukraine crisis and the overall shaky recovery in the eurozone.
In the background are ongoing tensions over the crisis in Ukraine and fresh Russian sanctions on the West as traders worry about Russia getting more involved in the Ukraine government's fight against pro-Russian rebels. Western leaders have accused Russia of massing troops on the border with Ukraine, although Russia has denied those claims.
On the commodity markets, the September crude contract in New York was ahead 45 cents to US$97.37 a barrel.
September copper gained a cent to US$3.17. But December bullion backed off after a $23 runup, off $4.20 to US$1,304 an ounce.