Canadian dollar up ahead of heavy slate of economic data; commodities mixed

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TORONTO – The Canadian dollar closed higher Monday ahead of a variety of economic data that could affect the currency’s performance.

The loonie rose 0.09 of a cent to 90.7 cents US.

It’s a big week for economic data with traders looking to the outcome of Wednesday’s U.S. Federal Reserve statement on interest rates, the latest readings on U.S. and Canadian economic growth and, at the end of the week, the American employment report for April.

They will also look to see the Chinese government’s purchasing managers index for the manufacturing sector.

Elsewhere on the economic front, the Finance Department says it may soon issue a 50-year Government of Canada bond. It says that given the current low-yield environment, issuing such bonds in the ultra-long sector would contribute to a reduction in future refinancing risk. Currently the longest maturing federal bond is 30 years.

And in the U.S., the National Association of Realtors said its seasonally adjusted pending home sales index rose 3.4 per cent to 97.4 last month, the first increase since June and a sign that the housing market may pick up after a sluggish start to the year.

Markets also kept an eye on escalating tensions between Ukraine and Russia.

On Monday, the U.S government imposed sanctions against seven Russian government officials and 17 companies with links to President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle.

The White House says the penalties are being levied because Russia has failed to live up to commitments it agreed to under an international accord aimed at de-escalating the crisis in Ukraine.

On the commodity markets, June crude in New York gained 24 cents to US$100.84 a barrel.

July copper was unchanged at US$3.09 a pound while June gold bullion dropped $1.80 to US$1,299 an ounce.

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