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Loonie down amid lower building permits; traders look to Friday jobs data

Canadian dollars (loonies) are pictured in Vancouver, on Sept. 22, 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
February 07, 2013 - 5:48 AM

TORONTO - The Canadian dollar was lower Thursday amid a worse than expected report from the housing sector and higher prices for oil and copper.

The currency was off 0.08 of a cent to 100.37 cents US as Statistics Canada said that Canadian building permits fell by 11.2 per cent in December. That was much worse than expectations for a 2.5 per cent rise during the month.

"Building permits are now 16 per cent off from year-ago levels, with multi-family residential permits a whopping 41 per cent below the levels seen last December," said a commentary from CIBC World Markets.

"Today’s figures suggest Canada’s homebuilding sector could be a drag on activity in late 2012/early 2013, and the recent trend in slowing permits bodes poorly for tomorrow’s housing starts reading."

Oil and metal prices advanced with the March crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange ahead 11 cents to US$96.73 a barrel.

March copper rose a penny to US$3.75 a pound while April bullion dipped $2.40 to US$1,676.40 an ounce.

Traders also looked ahead to Friday's latest employment report.

Statistics Canada is expected to report Friday that the economy created around 5,000 jobs during January. That's down sharply from the 31,000 reading from December.

Meanwhile, the European Central Bank said Thursday that it is keeping its benchmark rate at a record low 0.75 per cent despite pressure from hard-pressed businesses for a cut. Even though the economy of the 17 European Union countries that use the euro is in recession, there have been positive recent signals from forward-looking surveys, which likely played a large factor in the bank’s decision.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2013
The Canadian Press

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