Canadian dollar rises amid positive export outlook, traders look to Poloz speech

TORONTO - The Canadian dollar was higher Thursday amid rising commodity prices and a positive outlook for exports.

The loonie moved up 0.04 of a cent to 90.69 cents US.

Export Development Canada says renewed strength in the United States and in emerging markets, along with a lower loonie, will trigger a rebound in the lagging export sector, particularly in automobiles, building materials and appliances.

EDC chief economist Peter Hall says the volume of shipments will likely start taking off in the second half of this year and expand to 5.8 per cent growth in 2015.

Hall says the pickup in exports might have happened sooner but for the U.S. government shutdown in October and the unusually harsh weather throughout the winter.

Traders also looked ahead to comments from Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz, who speaks to the Saskatchewan Trade and Export Partnership and holds a 4 p.m. ET press conference in Saskatoon this afternoon.

"The address is entitled, 'Canada's Hot - And Not - Economy'," said Mark Chandler, head of Canadian FIC Strategy at RBC Dominion Securities, "and we suspect that the 'hot' is likely to focus on the housing sector and household debt accumulation, while the 'not hot' is expected to reflect disappointing export and capital spending trends."

Oil and gold prices advanced amid rising tensions between Ukraine and Russia.

June crude in New York was up 65 cents to US$102.09 a barrel while June bullion moved up $4.20 to US$1,288.80 an ounce.

Trading was cautious after Russia's defence minister announced new military exercises in Russia’s south and west in reaction to mounting unrest in eastern Ukraine and NATO exercises in Poland. That development came just hours after Ukrainian troops killed at least two pro-Russia insurgents in eastern Ukraine, leading Russian president Vladimir Putin to threaten Kiev with unspecified consequences.

May copper ran up four cents to US$3.10 a pound.