Canadian dollar heads lower as gold, oil and copper all strengthen

TORONTO - The Canadian dollar trekked lower Friday against higher commodities prices.

The loonie dropped 0.38 of a cent to 96.67 cents US near midday.

Statistics Canada reported manufacturing sales fell in June for the fourth time in six months, dropping 0.5 per cent to $48.2 billion.

In commodities, December gold bullion rose $6.10 to US$1,367.00 an ounce. September copper gained 3.2 cents to US$3.37 a pound.

September crude contract rose 76 cents to US$108.09 a barrel as supply concerns returned following renewed unrest in Egypt.

Though not an oil producer, Egypt controls the Suez canal that links the Mediterranean Sea and Red Sea, giving it a crucial role in maintaining global energy supplies.

"Commodities have found some support in the unlikely ally of a softer U.S. dollar, at least against the other majors," said BMO chief economist Doug Porter in a note.

"While Fed tapering still appears likely to commence this fall, markets have been underwhelmed by U.S. growth in 2013. This week brought another round of uninspiring results, as each of retail sales, industrial production, and housing starts came in shy of consensus for July."

In the U.S., the Commerce Department reported that builders began work last month on houses and apartments at a faster pace. The seasonally adjusted annual rate of starts was up six per cent to 896,000.