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Economic growth worries push loonie lower, traders look to rate announcement

TORONTO - The Canadian dollar lost ground for a second day Friday after weak trade data from China raised fresh questions about overall global economic growth. The loonie was down 0.42 of a cent to 91.08 cents US after falling almost half a cent on Thursday. "China's trade data disappointed, suggesting that GDP growth is likely to disappoint, even with new stimulus," said Camilla Sutton, Chief FX strategist with Scotiabank Global Banking and Markets.

Investors to stay focused on economic outlook this week after mixed jobs data

TORONTO - Investors will be looking for more signs of recovery in the U.S. and Canadian economies this week after mixed results on the latest employment numbers left stock markets weaker. While Canadian jobs figures came in above expectations on Friday, data from the U.S. showed that growth momentum trailed off in March, raising more questions about whether the pace will slow in the coming months. North American markets pulled back after the jobs figures were released, closing relatively flat on the week.

Loonie closes slightly lower before jobs data provides glimpse into economy

TORONTO - The Canadian dollar held relatively steady on Thursday ahead of employment numbers that will provide a glimpse at the state of the U.S. and Canadian economies. The loonie ended the day 0.03 of a cent lower at 90.59 before the key employment data is released early Friday. Both countries are expected to show modest increases helped by calmer winter weather in March, but questions remain over whether Canadian jobs market growth is stagnant.

Services sector growth accelerates in March: Markit

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Growth in the U.S. services sector accelerated in March, an industry report showed on Thursday, though the pace of employment slackened for a third straight month to its slowest in a year. Financial data firm Markit said its final service sector purchasing managers' index rose to 55.3 in March from 53.3 in February, though the figure was slightly below the preliminary read of 55.5 released last week.

UK service sector expands steadily in March, points to strong first-quarter growth: Markit/CIPS

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's dominant services sector expanded steadily in March, pointing to solid economic growth in the first quarter, even though the rate of expansion was the slowest since last June and hiring eased, a survey showed on Thursday. The Markit/CIPS services purchasing managers' index (PMI) edged down to 57.6 in March from 58.2 in February, below economists' consensus forecast in a Reuters poll for a reading of 58.1.

US trade deficit widens to $42.3 billion in February, highest in 5 months, as exports fall

WASHINGTON - The U.S. trade deficit climbed to the highest level in five months in February as demand for American exports fell while imports increased slightly. The deficit increased to $42.3 billion, which was 7.7 per cent above the January imbalance of $39.3 billion, the Commerce Department reported Thursday.

Growing service sector won't avert China slowdown

By Adam Rose and Xiaoyi Shao BEIJING (Reuters) - A robust services sector will not stop China's economy from slowing into the middle of the year, analysts said after modest government stimulus was seen as a signal authorities want to steady growth to keep their reform drive on track. Two surveys on Thursday showing growth in the service sector offered some relief after a run of disappointing data this year, but did little to alter the view that the world's second-largest economy has lost more momentum than expected in 2014.

New Zealand tops social progress index, world's biggest economies trail

By Astrid Zweynert LONDON, April 3 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - New Zealand came first in a global index published on Thursday that ranks countries by social and environmental performance rather than economic output in a drive to make social progress a priority for politicians and businesses. The Social Progress Index (SPI) rates 132 countries on more than 50 indicators, including health, sanitation, shelter, personal safety, access to information, sustainability, tolerance and inclusion and access to education.

Growth in German manufacturing sector slows in March: PMI

BERLIN (Reuters) - Growth in Germany's manufacturing sector slowed in March, a survey showed on Tuesday, as output, new orders and export orders in Europe's largest economy all rose at weaker rates than a month earlier. Markit's Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) for the German manufacturing sector, which accounts for about a fifth of the economy, fell to 53.7 in March from 54.8 in February, down one tick from a flash reading of 53.8.

US manufacturing activity picks up in March

US manufacturing activity gained pace in March helped by a pickup in new orders and a rebound in production, the Institute for Supply Management said Monday. The ISM's purchasing managers index rose to 53.7 from 53.2 the previous month. A reading above 50 denotes expansion. The new orders component rose to 55.1 and production turned around from contraction in February -- that was partly the result of extreme harsh winter weather -- to a solid expansion pace of 55.9. But hiring slowed and customer inventories contracted during the month.
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