Canadian dollar higher, U.S. growth improves - Metro US

Canadian dollar higher, U.S. growth improves

TORONTO – The Canadian dollar closed higher Friday but well off session highs as traders took in economic growth data from the country’s biggest trading partner that missed expectations.

The loonie was up 0.1 of a cent to 99.93 cents US after having risen as high as 100.14 cents earlier in the day.

The U.S. Commerce Department reported that fourth-quarter gross domestic product rose to an annualized rate of 2.8 per cent, better than the 1.8 per cent pace chalked up in the third quarter. However, the reading was less than the three per cent gain that economists had expected.

Oil prices took a minor hit after the release of the GDP data amid concern about possible lower demand.

Meanwhile, Iranian leaders will debate on Sunday a possible ban on oil sales to Europe in advance of a planned embargo of Iranian oil by EU countries this summer.

The March crude oil contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange closed down 14 cents at US$99.56 a barrel

Metal prices lost early momentum with the March copper contract on the Nymex off one cent at US$3.89 a pound.

Gold bullion prices gained ground for a third day, up $5.50 to US$1,732.20 an ounce.

Attention was also focused on the resumption of talks to reach a deal on how Greece can avoid a catastrophic default on its debt. Greece and its bailout rescuers — other countries that use the euro and the International Monetary Fund — are asking private creditors to swap their Greek bonds for new ones with a lower value and interest rate.

The two sides have so far disagreed over what interest rate the new bonds should take. Some negotiators have said they hope to have a deal this weekend, in time for a European leaders’ meeting on Monday.

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