TORONTO – The Canadian dollar closed higher Thursday as positive economic news from China and the United States lifted commodity prices.
The loonie was ahead 0.22 of a cent to 100.32 cents US as traders looked ahead to the release Friday of the Canadian employment report for October. Economists expect the economy cranked out about 7,500 jobs last month.
The dollar closed flat Wednesday amid data showing the Canadian economy slipped 0.1 per cent in August, the first monthly decline since February 2012. A 0.2 per cent rise had been expected.
There was some rare good news for the global economy as the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing’s monthly purchasing managers index improved to 50.2 from 49.8 in September. Numbers above 50 on the 100-point scale indicate activity is expanding.
Separately, HSBC Corp. said its own PMI improved to an eight-month high of 49.5 from September’s 47.9, though it still showed activity contracting.
Economic growth fell to a 3 1/2 year low of 7.6 per cent in the quarter ended in September but other indicators, including retail sales and investment, improved.
In the U.S., the Conference Board said its consumer confidence index increased in October to 72.2, the highest level in almost five years. Consumers were more confident after seeing better job growth, the report noted.
And a day before the U.S. non-farm payrolls report is released, payroll firm ADP said that the American private sector created 158,000 jobs in October. Economists had estimated the U.S. created about 120,000 jobs last month.
Meanwhile, the Institute for Supply Management says its index of factory activity rose last month to 51.7, up from September’s reading of 51.5. A reading above 50 indicates expansion.
The restart of refineries in the storm-hit northeastern United States also helped lift oil prices on Thursday.
The December crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange was 85 cents higher at US$87.09 a barrel.
Nine oil refineries that make up eight per cent of U.S. refining capacity sit in the region hit by Superstorm Sandy. Nearly all were affected by the storm, and two still were not operating late Wednesday.
Metal prices advanced in the wake of the Chinese PMI data with December copper up three cents to US$3.55 a pound. China is the biggest consumer of copper, which is viewed as an economic barometer as it is used in so many applications.
December bullion faded $3.60 to US$1,715.50 an ounce.