Canadian dollar gains as investors look past factory sales fall

·2 min read
FILE PHOTO: A Canadian dollar coin, commonly known as the "Loonie," is pictured in this illustration picture taken in Toronto

By Fergal Smith

TORONTO (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar edged higher against its U.S. counterpart on Monday as investors shrugged off domestic data showing a decline in factory sales and awaited a Federal Reserve policy decision this week, with the loonie recouping some of Friday's decline.

Canadian factory sales fell 2.1% in April from March, Statistics Canada said. Still, sales were up 1.1% after excluding vehicles and parts.

"Zooming out from the disruptions seen in the auto industry, the outlook for manufacturing sales is not all that bad," Omar Abdelrahman, an economist at TD Economics, said in a note.

"The reopening of provincial economies and strength in Canada's largest export market (the U.S.) should provide a lift to demand," Abdelrahman added.

Canada sends about 75% of its exports to the United States, including oil. Supported by economic recovery, crude futures climbed to the highest since October 2018 at $71.78 a barrel before settling at $70.88, down 3 cents on the day.

The Canadian dollar, this year's top performing G10 currency, was trading 0.2% higher at 1.2143 to the greenback, or 82.35 U.S. cents.

On Friday, it fell to its weakest intraday level since May 14 at 1.2177, with data showing that speculators have cut their bullish bets on the currency.

A stronger Canadian dollar is usually perceived as hurting exporters, but the nature of the global economic recovery could help firms pass on their higher costs from the currency to customers, leaving exporters in less pain than in previous cycles.

Investors are looking to the Fed's meeting statement on Wednesday for clues on when the central bank is likely to begin paring back its unprecedented monetary stimulus.

Canada's 10-year yield rose 2.9 basis points to 1.397%, tracking the move in U.S. Treasuries. Earlier in the day, it touched its lowest level since March 3 at 1.365%.

(Reporting by Fergal Smith; Editing by Bernadette Baum and Cynthia Osterman)