The Canadian dollar traded fractionally higher yesterday in very light trading on international money markets. The U.S. dollar was lower in what was described as "ho hum" trading.

On the inter-bank wholesale market, where large amounts of currency are traded and base prices set for other transactions, the Canadian dollar changed hands at 87.92 U.S. cents at the close of the session, a two-point gain over Wednesday's final value.

The Canadian currency opened at 87.85 cents, and never went below 87.83. At one point, it traded as high as 87.98 cents.

The modest advance came three days after the Canadian dollar fell through the 8-cent mark for the first time since 1933, prompting the Bank of Canada to increase its prime lending rate by 0.5 point to 8.5 percent,

But with the exception of Tokyo, where the dollar plunged to a new low before recovering at the close, dealers said it was a lacklustre day. "In the absence of any fresh news events, it was a ho hum day," a New York dealer said.

In Tokyo, the dollar plunged to a new post-war low of 218 yen shortly after the opening, before rallying to 218.95 yen at the close, which was lower than Wednesday's finish of 219.40 yen.

The dollar also was lower in Europe on all markets except London, where the pound eased fractionally against the dollar, closing at $1.8740 compared with $1.8745 Wednesday.

In Frankfurt, the dollar eased to 2.0160 West German marks from 2.02, in Paris to 4.5550 French francs from 4.5715 francs Wednesday, in Zurich to 1.8622 Swiss francs from 1.8682, in Milan to 850.48 lire from 851.40, in Amsterdam to 2.1540 Dutch guilders from 2.16, and in Brussels to 31.56 Belgian francs from 31.67.

Gold, although closing down from the day's high price, was substantially stronger. It ended trading in Zurich at $180.625 an once, up from Wednesday's closing price of $178.375. In London, itrose to $180.125 from $178.875 Wednesday.