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Loonie lower

The Canadian dollar declined Wednesday amid data showing slightly fewer housing starts last month and an advance in oil and copper prices on global markets.

The loonie was down 0.06 of a cent to 101.29 cents US as Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. reported that December starts came in at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 197,976. That was down slightly from 201,376 in November but still higher than the 195,000 that economists had expected.

CMHC said the decline was due to fewer starts in rural areas of the country while Canadian urban starts remained stable.

"Today's data suggest that the homebuilding sector, once an engine of growth for the Canadian economy, is on a clear softening trend," said CIBC World Markets economist Emanuella Enenajor.



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