News

Loonie higher as commodities weaken, political uncertainty in Europe prevails

TORONTO – The Canadian dollar moved slightly higher Monday amid worries about the direction of the European and Chinese economies.

The loonie ended the day ahead 0.16 of a cent to 100.91 cents US.

Currencies around the globe were pressured throughout most of the day after reports that showed European government debt continues to pile up despite severe budget cuts that have led to unrest across the continent.

The political future of France was also in question as the country appears poised to elect Socialist Francois Hollande as its next president. While polls correctly predicted Hollande would come out ahead of conservative President Nicolas Sarkozy in Sunday’s first round of voting, an unexpectedly strong showing by far-right candidate Marine Le Pen adds an element of uncertainty.

Meanwhile, Statistics Canada said wholesale sales rose 1.6 per cent in February to $48.5 billion, following a 1.1 per cent decline in January.

Most subsectors reported higher sales in February, with four of them accounting for about 90 per cent of overall growth.

Commodities were weaker overall, with the June crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange down 77 cents to settle at US$103.11 a barrel.

Bullion prices ended the session down 0.6 per cent with the June contract off $10.20 to US$1,632.60 an ounce.

And copper moved a penny higher to US$3.63 a pound.