Canadian dollar, oil drop after OPEC increases crude output

The Canadian dollar finished slightly lower after dipping to just above 76 cents US Friday as oil prices dropped on data that showed OPEC members increasing their output.

Strong job creation south of border pushes up U.S. dollar and New York stocks, while TSX falls

Oil prices rose as investors hoped for a price freeze, but new data shows OPEC increased output in March. (Reuters)

The Canadian dollar finished slightly lower after dipping to just above 76 cents US Friday as oil prices dropped on data that showed OPEC members increasing their output.

There was good news about jobs and manufacturing growth in the U.S., but that weighed further on the loonie because it led to a strengthening of the U.S. dollar.

At the close, the Canadian dollar was down .08 of a cent to 76.82 cents US after dropping as low as 76.07 earlier in the day..

Oil was knocked back from gains made in the past two weeks because of a report that output from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries rose by 64,000 barrels a day in March to 33.09 million barrels a day.

Output from Iraq and Iran was at the highest level in four years, adding to a worldwide glut of crude.

And U.S. stockpiles of oil continued to grow, reaching their highest levels in 80 years.

While oil prices have risen on hopes that a meeting on April 15 will lead to an agreement to freeze output, the latest figures cast doubts on OPEC's intentions.

West Texas Intermediate, the benchmark North American contract, fell $1.70 or 4.4 per cent to $36.64 US at the close of trading. Brent was down $1.72 to $38.61 US a barrel. It was the first weekly decline in oil prices since February.

Gold, which has been a bright spot this month, joined the rout, dropping $9.75 to $1,223 US an ounce.

The TSX was also in decline, down 67 points to 13,427. 

But New York stocks were on the upswing, with the Dow Jones industrial average up 107 points at 17,792 and the S&P up 13 points at 2,072.

A report on U.S. job creation in March showed a robust 215,000 positions were created and average wages also rose.

U.S. manufacturing also expanded in March, ending a five-month streak of declining factory activity.