Loonie down after U.S. economic data fails to impress, Spain still concerns

TORONTO – The Canadian dollar was slightly lower Friday after the latest glimpse of the U.S. economy failed to impress.

The loonie dipped 0.24 of a cent to 101.71 cents US.

A report from the U.S. Commerce Department showed that Americans spent more in August even though their incomes barely grew. But the spending increase was driven by higher gasoline prices.

Meanwhile, Statistics Canada reported that the economy grew by 0.2 per cent in July, after a downwardly revised 0.1 per cent increase in June. The July figure was better than the 0.1 per cent expected by analysts.

Investors were cautious over Spain, a day after the country’s government announced big spending cuts it hopes will convince potential bailout creditors and investors it has a rock-solid plan to heal its public finances.

The Bank of Spain released an audit Friday showing that seven of the country’s banks failed stress tests. Moody’s, the credit rating agency, is also expected to weigh in on Spain’s creditworthiness, and there are concerns the government’s rating will be cut to “junk” status.

In commodities, November crude on the New York Mercantile Exchange moved up 34 cents to settle at US$92.19 a barrel. Crude picked up about seven per cent of its value in the quarter.

December gold bullion decreased $6.60 to US$1,773.90 an ounce. The price of gold has risen about 11 per cent since the start of the quarter.

December copper was up 1.4 cents at US$3.76 a pound.