Loonie up amid mixed commodities, traders look to heavy slate of economic news

TORONTO – The Canadian dollar closed higher Monday amid mixed commodity prices and ahead of a heavy week of economic data.

The loonie was up 0.09 of a cent to 95.99 cents US.

The most important data of the week comes out Friday — October employment data for Canada and the U.S.

Economists looked for Canadian job creation last month to come in at a modest 10,000 with an uptick in the jobless rate from 6.9 per cent to seven per cent.

In the U.S., job creation is expected to come in at only 125,000 for October while the unemployment rate is forecast to rise 0.1 of a point to 7.3 per cent.

Analysts say that the U.S. job numbers will be affected by the partial shutdown of the U.S. government last month, since the data would include private sector workers who were laid off.

On Thursday, the U.S. government will release the first look at economic growth in the third quarter, which was affected by uncertainty surrounding Washington’s fiscal situation.

Republicans and Democrats reached a compromise in mid-October and raised the debt ceiling but only after the 16-day partial U.S. government shutdown, which started on Oct. 1.

Analysts estimate U.S. gross domestic product for the July-September quarter rose by an annualized rate of 1.9 per cent, down from 2.5 per cent in the second quarter.

On Tuesday, the Institute for Supply Management releases its latest snapshot of the American service sector, which is expected to show slightly slower expansion in October. The ISM index is expected to come in at 54, down from 54.4 in September.

The communique from last week’s meeting of the Federal Reserve left the impression that the central bank could decide to start winding up its $85 billion in monthly asset purchases as soon as December.

Those bond purchases have kept rates low and is one of the reasons why many stock indexes, including the main U.S. markets, have struck record highs this year.

Commodity prices were mixed with December crude on the New York Mercantile Exchange up a penny to US$94.62 a barrel.

December copper lost five cents to US$3.25 a pound while December bullion gained $1.50 to US$1,314.70 an ounce.