Connect to share and comment

Canadian dollar rises on positive jobs, housing reports; commodities mixed


TORONTO - The Canadian dollar advanced Monday, lifted by strong jobs data at the end of last week and another report out Monday showing rising housing starts.

The loonie was up 0.07 of a cent to 98.13 cents US after Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. said that housing starts were trending at 182,756 units in May compared to 182,971 in April. The trend is a six-month moving average of the monthly seasonally adjusted annual rates of housing starts.

But the seasonally adjusted standalone annual rate was 200,178 units in May, an increase from 175,922 in April.

"May’s increase in homebuilding suggests overall housing construction continues to garner support from condominium-related building, although the overall levels are still off from the highs seen in mid-2012 when the market was more frothy," said CIBC World Markets economist Emanuella Enenajor.

"Today’s data could mean that homebuilding activity in the second quarter could be less of a drag than seen in the prior quarter."

The dollar had jumped about six-tenths of a cent Friday after Statistics Canada said the economy cranked out an impressive 95,000 jobs last month.

Meanwhile, commodity prices were lower amid other data from the weekend that showed China’s trade, retail sales and other activity in May were weaker than expected, fueling concerns about the country’s shaky economic recovery.

China’s trade surplus rose to $20.4 billion in May from $18.2 billion in the prior month.

However, export growth slowed dramatically to just one per cent from a year ago, which was the slowest increase since July 2012. Imports slipped 0.3 per cent from year-earlier levels.

July crude on the New York Mercantile Exchange shed 60 cents to US$95.43 a barrel.

July copper fell four cents to $3.23 a pound on top a 10-cent slide over the past two sessions. Copper is widely viewed as an economic barometer as it is used in so many applications.

And August bullion was up 20 cents to US$1,383.20 an ounce.