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The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Loonie closes flat amid higher commodities; traders look to key U.S. data

TORONTO - The Canadian dollar closed little changed Monday amid rising commodity prices and ahead of key American economic data coming out this week.

The loonie slipped 0.01 of a cent to 91.77 cents US after falling almost two-thirds of a US cent Friday in the wake of disappointing employment data for April.

Traders will consider the April reading on U.S. retail sales on Tuesday as well as capacity utilization and industrial production data on Thursday and April housing starts numbers along with the May reading on consumer confidence from the University of Michigan on Friday.

Together, they are expected to indicate that the U.S. economy will run ahead 3.8 per cent in the second quarter after likely contracting in the January-March period.

It's a light week for Canadian data. Statistics Canada releases the March report on manufacturing shipments on Thursday.

On the commodity markets, July copper gained seven cents to US$3.15 a pound amid speculation that the Chinese government will take steps to support markets.

China's cabinet promised in an announcement late Friday to allow local governments to issue bonds and to streamline the approval process for initial public stock offerings, a move that was seen as widening market access.

June gold bullion added $8.20 to US$1,295.80 and ounce, while June crude oil ran up 60 cents to US$100.59 a barrel.

Meanwhile, the European Union added 13 more people and two enterprises to its Ukraine list for visa bans and asset freezes. The EU made the move Monday after pro-Russian insurgents claimed 89 per cent of those who cast ballots Sunday in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk region and about 96 per cent of those who turned out in the neighbouring Luhansk region voted for sovereignty in referendums held on the weekend. It remained unclear whether the vote could lead to their secession.

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