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Markets

Canadian dollar weakens after lackluster retail sales gain

The US dollar rose against a basket of major currencies after investors cut back short positions in the greenback a
20 Sep 2019
  • The US dollar rose against a basket of major currencies after investors cut back short positions in the greenback as concerns about slower global growth prospects and political tensions boosted its safe-haven appeal.
  • Analysts had forecast a 0.6pc increase in overall sales.

TORONTO: The Canadian dollar weakened against its US counterpart on Friday as the greenback broadly climbed and domestic data showed that retail sales rose less than expected in July.

Canadian retail sales were up 0.4pc in July from June, advancing for the first time in three months, on stronger sales of new cars at motor vehicle and parts dealers, Statistics Canada said.

Analysts had forecast a 0.6pc increase in overall sales.

"This so-so reading was flattered by a rebound in auto sales and firmer prices," Doug Porter, chief economist at BMO Capital Markets, said in a note.

"The relatively flat performance by the consumer at the start of Q3 reinforces the view that overall GDP will simmer down markedly in the quarter after the blow-out 3.7pc jump in Q2," Porter said.

Canadians have high debt loads and depleted savings, which could crimp their spending for as long as decades, economists say.

The US dollar rose against a basket of major currencies after investors cut back short positions in the greenback as concerns about slower global growth prospects and political tensions boosted its safe-haven appeal.

At 9:28 a.m. (1328 GMT), the Canadian dollar was trading 0.2pc lower at 1.3285 to the greenback, or 75.27 US cents.

The currency, which touched on Wednesday a two-week low intraday at 1.3310, traded in a range of 1.3256 to 1.3294.

For the week, the loonie was nearly unchanged.

The price of oil, one of Canada's major exports, was supported by rising Middle East tensions after a key Saudi Arabian supply hub was knocked out in an attack last weekend. US crude oil futures were up 1.50pc at $59 a barrel.

Canadian government bond prices were higher across a flatter yield curve, with the two-year up 2 Canadian cents to yield 1.59pc and the 10-year rising 27 Canadian cents to yield 1.408pc.

On Thursday, the 10-year yield hit a one-week low at 1.402pc.