Canadian dollar declines amid stronger than expected read on U.S. housing

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TORONTO – The Canadian dollar closed lower Tuesday amid stronger than expected U.S. housing data.

The loonie fell 0.11 of a cent to 90.68 cents US as the U.S. dollar strengthened in the wake of a report showing existing home sales fell 0.2 per cent last month to an annual rate of 4.59 million. That was higher than the annual rate of 4.55 million that economists had expected..

Other data showed a solid rise in Canadian wholesale sales during February.

Statistics Canada reported that wholesale sales rose for a second consecutive month in February, up 1.1 per cent to $50.7 billion, led by motor vehicle and parts. Excluding this subsector, wholesale sales rose 0.8 per cent.

Traders also looked ahead to Wednesday for the latest retail sales data. Statistics Canada is expected to report that retail sales in February rose 0.4 per cent from January, when sales posted a big 1.3 per cent bounce from the poor performance registered in December because of severe winter weather.

Economists expect a good chunk of the retail sales gain will be driven by higher gasoline prices.

The big number for the U.S. this week is March durable goods data coming out on Thursday. Economists looked for goods orders to have risen by 1.9 per cent following a 2.2 per cent gain in February.

On Tuesday, commodity prices were mixed with the June crude contract in New York down $1.90 to US$101.75 a barrel.

June bullion faded $7.40 to US$1,281.10 an ounce while May copper was up one cent at US$3.05 a pound.

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