Loonie lower as worldwide economy takes focus after US Fed stimulus last week

TORONTO – The Canadian dollar moved lower on Monday as enthusiasm faded over the unveiling of a third round of economic stimulus by the U.S. Federal Reserve last week.

The loonie ended the day off 0.48 of a cent to 102.49 cents U.S.

A report from Statistics Canada said that foreign interest in Canadian securities bounced back in July, with non-resident investors buying $6.7 billion of equity and debt, which followed a large sale of $7.8 billion in June.

Statistics Canada said Canadian investment in securities abroad was also up in July, strengthening slightly to $4.6 billion — split evenly between stocks and bonds.

Meanwhile, a meeting of the 17 eurozone finance ministers over the weekend showed it will take months of negotiations and preparation to set up a new European banking union.

Eurozone countries are, among other things, divided over how many banks should be supervised by a new authority with the ability to bail out the lenders directly.

Creating a European banking union is important to ease concerns that bank failures might bring down the government finances of financially weak states such as Spain or Italy.

North American markets digested the latest developments and pulled back on some of the gains that had characterized trading last week.

In commodities, the October crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange fell $2.38 to end the session at US$96.62.

Copper prices for December were down 3.5 cents to US$3.80 a pound. Copper, viewed as an economic barometer because it is used in so many industries, surged 19 cents last week.

Gold closed down $2.10 at US$1,770.60 an ounce.

Sentiment on the Canadian housing market also pulled back as the Canadian Real Estate Association cut its forecast for home sales this year and next and lowered its national average price forecast, partly due to revised mortgage lending regulations implemented last month.

In its outlook for the year, CREA said Monday that home sales are now forecast to rise by 1.9 per cent to 466,900 units in 2012, but slip by 1.9 per cent to 457,800 units in 2013.

The national average home price is forecast to rise by just 0.6 per cent to $365,000 in 2012 and edge lower by one-tenth of one per cent to $364,500 in 2013.