Canadian dollar closes lower, U.S. retail sales put in disappointing showing

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TORONTO – The Canadian dollar closed lower Tuesday amid a worse than expected reading on U.S. retail sales and mixed commodities.

The loonie was down 0.11 of a cent at 91.66 cents US.

The Commerce Department reported that U.S. retail sales rose just 0.1 per cent last month, after surging 1.5 per cent in March following a harsh winter that had curtailed shopping.

Auto sales increased 0.6 per cent in April and purchases at clothing stores were up 1.2 per cent. But most of those gains were offset by declines in spending at restaurants, online retailers and furniture and electronics stores.

It’s a light week for Canadian data. Statistics Canada releases the March report on manufacturing shipments on Thursday.

On the commodity markets, June crude in New York gained $1.11 to US$101.70 a barrel, June gold bullion edged $1 lower to US$1,294.80 an ounce and July copper slipped a penny to US$3.14 a pound after running up over two per cent Monday.

In other economic news, a German survey of investment professionals has found that optimism fell in May for the fifth month in a row, a sign that growth in Europe’s biggest economy may be slowing.

The ZEW indicator fell to 33.1 from 43.2 in April. The decline was bigger than anticipated as the market consensus had been for a more modest drop to 40.0.

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