Canadian dollar advances, traders look to heavy slate of U.S. data, OPEC meeting

TORONTO – The Canadian dollar closed higher Wednesday amid a generally positive batch of U.S. economic data.

The loonie was ahead 0.13 of a cent to 89 cents US.

Durable goods orders in the United States put in a much better than expected showing in October, rising by 0.4 per cent versus an expected 0.6 per cent drop.

The U.S. Commerce Department said consumer spending rose 0.2 per cent last month. Consumer spending is closely watched because it accounts for 70 per cent of American economic activity.

Other data showed that U.S. new home sales edged up 0.7 per cent in October to the fastest pace since May.

And, while the final reading for the University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index for November was revised downward, to 88.8 from 89.4, it was still the best reading since July 2007.

Meanwhile, investors will also get information this week on how the Canadian economy is performing.

Statistics Canada releases its reading on September gross domestic product and the third quarter on Friday. Economists expect that the agency will report that GDP rose by 0.4 per cent after dipping 0.1 per cent in August, adding up to an annualized pace of 2.1 per cent.

Traders also looked to a key meeting by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries on Thursday. With prices hovering around the US$75 a barrel level because of a stronger U.S. dollar, lower demand and much higher supplies, traders hope the cartel will come to an agreement to cut production in order to support prices.

There is plenty of doubt about whether the cartel will make such an agreement.

On Wednesday, Saudi Arabia’s oil minister, Ali Al-Naimi, said that he believes the crude market “will stabilize itself.”

The January crude contract in New York was down 40 cents to a four-year low of US$73.69 a barrel

Elsewhere on commodity markets, March copper fell two cents to US$2.96 a pound while December bullion faded 30 cents to US$1,197.50 an ounce.