The Canadian dollar was little changed Friday amid lower than expected pricing pressures during December and a solid November retail sales report.
The loonie was up 0.02 of a cent to 80.64 cents (U.S.) as Statistics Canada reported that the consumer price index – the key measure of inflation – rose 1.5 per cent in the 12 months to December. That's down from November's rate of 2.0 per cent.
The agency also said retail sales rose 0.4 per cent to $43-billion (Canadian) in November. Economists had generally expected a decline.
Oil prices rose earlier in the morning on news of the death of Saudi Arabia's monarch, King Abdullah. But later, the March contract turned lower, down 14 cents (U.S.) to $46.17 a barrel.
Crude prices have plunged 40 per cent since the end of November when Saudi Arabia said it would seek to maintain market share by refusing to cut production in order to support prices. Overall, prices are down about 55 per cent from last June because of global oversupply.
The question now is whether Abdullah's successor Prince Salman, 79, will change the kingdom's oil policy.
A rising U.S. dollar helped push other commodities lower as February bullion declined $10.30 to $1,290.40 an ounce while March copper shed eight cents to $2.49 a pound.
The loonie has fallen sharply this week after the Bank of Canada unexpectedly cut rates a quarter point to 0.75 per cent, the European Central Bank embarked on a major program of quantitative easing while data showed a disappointing read on manufacturing shipments during November.
The currency has fallen more than three cents to lows last seen in April, 2009.
The currency has also been weakened by the collapse in oil prices.