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Canadian dollars. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press)
Canadian dollars. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press)

Loonie holds steady on Christmas Eve Add to ...

The Canadian dollar held steady at 94.24 cents US early Tuesday, ahead of the Christmas holiday.

A day earlier, the Bank of Canada announced that deputy governor John Murray will retire in April, the second pending departure from the central bank’s upper ranks.

He will step down on April 30, a day before senior deputy governor Tiff Macklem is set to leave to become dean at the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto.

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Murray, who has been a deputy governor since in January 2008, has overseen the bank’s analysis of domestic and international economic developments.

The departures will leave two seats vacant on the six-seat governing council, which is charged with setting the Bank of Canada’s policy rates.

Also on Monday, Statistics Canada reported that the economy grew for the fourth consecutive month.

The federal agency said gross domestic product for October came in at 0.3 per cent, beating analyst expectations of 0.2 per cent and the same as September’s increase.

Ottawa also reported that it ran a deficit of $2.5-billion in October, unchanged from the same month last year. The monthly fiscal monitor says Ottawa’s revenue slipped by $100-million, while increased revenue from personal income tax and other sources was offset by lower revenue from corporate taxes and GST.

In October, the government increased program spending by $100-million, while public debt charges fell $200-million. For the fiscal year so far, the deficit stands $13.2-billion, compared with a deficit of $11.9-billion at the same time last year.

It’s expected to be quiet day on the markets with the Toronto Stock Exchange closing at 1 p.m. ET for Christmas Eve, and remaining shut down for Christmas Day and Boxing Day. New York markets will not trade on Dec. 25.

No major Canadian economic data is expected to be released until next week.

On the commodity markets, February crude on the Nymex climbed 16 cents to US$99.07 a barrel.

Gold prices saw an uptick after plunging to three-year lows last week. The February contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange jumped $3.30 to US$1,200.30 an ounce.

March copper rose two cents to US$3.33 a pound.

Gold prices have fallen sharply this week after the U.S. Federal Reserve announced it will start to scale back its latest asset-purchase program. Last week, the central said it will begin cutting $10-billion from its $85-billion monthly purchases of U.S. Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities starting in January. Quantitative easing had supported gold prices because of inflationary fears.

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