Canadian dollar closes lower amid strengthening greenback, positive Chinese data

TORONTO – The Canadian dollar closed lower Monday as the U.S. currency steadily advanced during the session, which in turn put pricing pressures on commodities.

The loonie gave up 0.32 of a cent to 87.92 cents US, giving back a chunk of its three-quarters of a cent jump Friday in the wake of from a much stronger than expected jobs report for October.

The dip in the currency also came amid data showing some softness in the Canadian housing sector.

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. reported Monday that housing starts came in at an annualized rate of 183,604 units in October, down from 197,355 in September, amid a slowdown in the multiple-unit segment that includes condominiums. Generally, economists had expected a rise to about 200,000 starts.

The higher greenback helped sent the December crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange down $1.25 to US$77.40 a barrel.

December copper edged two cents lower to US$3.02 a pound while December gold bullion faded $10 to US$1,159.80 an ounce.

Meanwhile, data released overnight showed that China’s export growth slowed to 11.6 per cent in October from a year earlier, beating analysts’ expectations of a 10 per cent rise. October’s export growth was down from September’s 15.3 per cent growth. Imports rose 4.6 per cent from a year earlier, slightly below forecasts calling for a five per cent gain.

The trade surplus of the world’s second-biggest economy also beat expectations as it widened in October to US$45.4 billion from $30.9 billion in September, higher than forecasts that called for a $42.3-billion surplus.

Other data showed China’s consumer price index rose 1.6 per cent in October from a year earlier, the same increase as in September. The rise in consumer prices was well below the government’s target for the year of 3.5 per cent.

Meanwhile, investors will be looking for other American data this week to reinforce the view that the U.S. economy is by far the global outperformer. The consumer will be in focus Friday as U.S. retail sales data for October are released.

The other major Canadian report for the week, Statistics Canada’s September survey of manufacturing shipments, is also being released Friday.