Canadian dollar slips, data shows decline in manufacturing shipments

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TORONTO – The Canadian dollar closed lower Friday amid data showing manufacturing shipments declined in December for the first time since August.

The loonie was down 0.05 of a cent to 91.05 cents US as Statistics Canada reported that manufacturing shipments fell by 0.9 per cent. Economists had been looking for a gain.

The agency cited a decline in transportation equipment sales for the step back. But it also noted that manufacturing sales have risen in six of the past eight months and were 2.7 per cent higher than in December 2012.

In the U.S., the latest reading on U.S. consumer confidence, the University of Michigan’s index, was unchanged at 81.2. A slight drop had been expected.

Another report showed that harsh winter weather led to U.S. factory output falling by 0.8 per cent in January.

Overseas, China’s consumer prices rose 2.5 per cent over a year earlier in January, unchanged from December’s rate. The rise in politically sensitive food costs decelerated to 3.7 per cent from December’s 4.1 per cent.

Traders found the inflation data encouraging because it leaves the Chinese government room to stimulate the world’s second-biggest economy.

Other data showed that economic growth across the eurozone was stronger than expected at the end of 2013 as gross domestic product grew by 0.3 per cent in the fourth quarter from the previous quarter. That adds up to an annualized rate of about 1.2 per cent. Analysts had been looking for fourth-quarter growth of 0.2 per cent.

In the third quarter, growth was only 0.1 per cent across the eurozone, which came out of recession at the beginning of 2013.

Commodity prices were mixed amid the economic data as March crude on the New York Mercantile Exchange declined five cents to US$100.30 a barrel.

March copper was up a cent at US$3.26 a pound while April gold bullion gained $18.50 to US$1,318.60 an ounce.

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