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The Globe and Mail

Loonie rises amid surging oil, disappointing U.S. jobs report

The Canadian dollar closed higher against the U.S. currency Friday amid rising oil and metal prices and employment news from Canada's biggest trading partner that disappointed investors.

The loonie gained 0.05 cents (U.S.) to 102.91 cents.

The April crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange surged $2.51 to $104.42 a barrel.

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Oil prices rose after falling slightly on Thursday as traders wondered if attempts at mediation by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez would come to anything. But an opposition spokesman in Libya, Mustafa Gheriani, ruled out any negotiations with Moammar Gadhafi, saying "his hands are tainted with blood."

And the head of the Cairo-based Arab League also seemed cool to the idea. League spokesman Hisham Youssef said Mr. Chavez's proposals were not clearly drawn out.

Crude oil prices are up more than 16 per cent in the past two weeks on worries that the unrest in Libya could spread to other big oil producing countries in the Mideast.

Bullion prices resumed advancing following a dip Thursday, with the April contract in New York up $12.20 at $1,428.60 an ounce.

Copper prices were flat from Thursday's close of $4.49 a pound.

The U.S. Labour Department reported that the American economy created 192,000 jobs in February, which met consensus expectations and saw the unemployment rate edge down 0.01 percentage points to 8.9 per cent.

However, some analysts had been expecting job creation to come in as high as 250,000 following an upbeat survey from the ADP payrolls firm and an unexpected decline in weekly jobless claims.

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