(The Canadian Press) TORONTO – The Canadian dollar was higher Wednesday as commodity prices found lift in encouraging trade data from China.
The loonie was up 0.12 of a cent to 90.89 cents as markets also digested Tuesday's federal budget. Finance Minister Jim Flaherty delivered a budget close to balance, with a $2.9-billion deficit for 2014-15 and a $3.0-billion contingency fund.
Data showed that China's trade growth accelerated in January imports rose 10% to US$107.2 billion, up from January's 8.3% growth. Exports rose 10.6% to $126.7 billion, more than double the previous month's 4.3% expansion and the trade surplus widened to $31.9 billion. All three numbers beat expectations and raised some doubts among economists.
``The strong export numbers have prompted renewed concerns about false invoicing, as trade partners didn't show similar strength in their data,'' observed BMO Capital Markets senior economist Benjamin Reitzes.
However, he also noted that the Lunar New Year holiday ``can seriously distort the data.''
``So we should probably wait for next month's numbers before pointing any fingers and making any judgments on how this report influences our growth outlook.''
Still the report helped alleviate worries about the world's second-biggest economy. Markets had sold off early last week after other data showed manufacturing expanded at a much slower than expected pace at the beginning of the year.
Commodity prices moved higher as March crude on the New York Mercantile Exchange gained 69 cents to US$100.63 a barrel.
March copper rose three cents to US$3.24 a pound while April gold ticked 70 cents higher to US$1,290.50.