The Canadian dollar closed higher Thursday as the currency played catch-up to recent gains in commodity prices and responded to another round of positive Chinese data.The loonie gained 0.36 of a cent to 98.94 cents (U.S.) after earlier running up to a two-month high of 99.15 cents.
Commodities have responded positively to data this week from China showing lower inflationary pressures and rising imports.
On Thursday, another report showed strong growth in lending in the world’s second-biggest economy. New yuan loans totalled 1.06 trillion ($170-billion Canadian) in March, which beat expectations of 890 billion, and up from 620 billion last month.
The data also showed that China’s aggregate yuan financing, which is a broader measure of credit, came in at 2.54 trillion in March, which was also greater than expected and more than doubled February’s 1.07 trillion total.
Commodity prices were mixed Thursday as the May crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange declined $1.13 to $93.51 (U.S.) a barrel. Prices backed off after the International Energy Agency lowered its expectations for global demand for crude in 2013.
May copper shed early declines to move up 2 cents to $3.43 a pound.
June gold bullion was up $6.10 to $1,564.90 an ounce after sliding 1.7 per cent Wednesday, partly on speculation that Cyprus will sell €400-million ($530-million Canadian) of the precious metal as part of its financial bailout.
The cost of bailing out Cyprus has swollen to €23-billion, with the country having to take on the lion’s share of the measures needed to avoid bankruptcy, according to a draft document by the country’s international creditors.
The draft document says Cyprus will have to find €13-billion, well above the €7-billion contribution agreed to during the country’s chaotic bailout talks last month. The money will be raised by imposing heavy losses on large bank deposits, levying additional taxes, privatizations and a part-sale of the central bank’s gold reserves.
On the economic calendar, the U.S. Labour Department said jobless insurance claims declined by 42,000 last week to 346,000, which beat expectations of 360,000. The less-volatile four-week moving average rose 3,000 to 358,000.