The Canadian dollar was lower Monday as geopolitical tensions weighted on financial markets.
The Canadian dollar was down 0.12 of a cent to 93.02 cents US as traders assess the likelihood of additional sanctions levied against Russia for its support of Ukrainian rebels who are largely blamed for shooting down a Malaysian airliner on Friday.
The disaster, in an area controlled by pro-Russian separatists, has sparked international condemnation and increased pressure on Russia to stop meddling in Ukraine. Russian officials have blamed Ukraine’s government for creating the situation and atmosphere in which the plane was downed by a sophisticated surface to air missile.
Markets were also focused on Israel’s ground offensive against Gaza.
Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon said Monday he is prepared to continue the offensive “as long as necessary” to halt rocket fire and other attacks from Gaza on Israelis.
Israel accepted an Egyptian call for an unconditional cease-fire last week, but resumed its offensive after Hamas rejected the proposal.
Hamas says that before halting fire, it wants guarantees that Israel and Egypt will significantly ease a seven-year border blockade of Gaza.
Meanwhile, it’s a rather thin week for economic data. The major Canadian event is the May reading on retail sales. Economists expect Statistics Canada to report Wednesday that sales rose 0.5 per cent for the month.
In the U.S., traders will digest the latest data on inflation, home sales and durable goods orders.
On the commodity markets, August crude on the New York Mercantile Exchange added 63 cents to US$103.76 a barrel.
Traders looking for safety pushed August gold up $2.70 to US$1,312.10 an ounce, while September copper gained one cent to US$3.19 a pound.