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Canadian dollar closes higher, traders look to revised July jobs report

TORONTO - The Canadian dollar closed slightly higher Wednesday as traders await a revised set of job numbers on Friday.

The loonie was up 0.04 of a cent to 91.6 cents US.

Statistics Canada surprised markets Tuesday with its announcement that an error had been detected in the July jobs data and that it would launch a review of the data verification process.

The agency reported last Friday that the economy created only 200 jobs last month, a far cry from the 15,000 positions that economists had forecast.

Meanwhile, metal prices declined as data showed China's industrial production rose nine per cent in July from a year earlier, edging down from a 9.2 per cent increase in June. Retail sales and fixed asset investment also declined. Investors hope that the Chinese government will step in with an interest rate cut or other stimulus to keep gross domestic product growth from slowing.

The subpar Chinese data pushed September copper down four cents to US$3.11 a pound.

September crude in New York gained 22 cents to US$97.59 a barrel, erasing earlier losses after data showed U.S. inventories unexpectedly rose last week.

December gold bullion gained $3.90 to US$1,314.50 an ounce.

Elsewhere, government figures showed Japan’s economy, the world’s third largest, shrank at an annualized pace of 6.8 per cent in the second quarter after spending got slammed by a sales tax hike that kicked in from April. The contraction was expected and economists think spending will pick up again in coming months.

And in the U.S., seasonally adjusted retail sales were unchanged in July compared with the prior month.

Geopolitical worries have kept markets focused recently and on Wednesday traders looked to what might happen when a convoy of more than 260 Russian trucks, reportedly packed with supplies, arrives at the Ukraine border. Kiev said the goods would only be allowed to cross if they are inspected by the International Red Cross. Ukraine is fearful that Russia could use the move as a cover for sending troops into separatist-held territory.

Turmoil in Iraq has also captured market attention. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki says the president’s tasking of another politician with forming a new government amounts to a “constitutional violation” and would have worse consequences than the takeover of much of the country’s north by militants.

The Canadian Press

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