BUSINESS
09/09/2014 08:59 EDT | Updated 11/09/2014 05:59 EST

Canadian dollar little changed amid mid-summer slip in housing starts

TORONTO - The Canadian dollar closed little changed Tuesday amid data showing a mid-summer deterioration in Canadian housing starts.

The loonie edged up 0.02 of a cent to 91.15 cents US as Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. reported that housing starts came in at an annualized rate of 192,368 units in August.

That was slightly below market expectations of 195,000 and down from a reading of 199,813 in July.

The report followed other data from Statistics Canada on Monday showing that municipalities issued building permits worth $9.2 billion in July, up 11.8 per cent from June and the fourth consecutive monthly advance.

It's been a tough week for the loonie, which slid three-quarters of a U.S. cent Monday despite the better than expected growth in building permits. The U.S. dollar appreciated sharply in the wake of Friday's soft U.S. and Canadian job reports and concern increased on the markets over how the Scottish referendum on independence Sept. 18 may turn out.

The Scottish referendum has grabbed market attention this week, particularly since a YouGov poll released on the weekend showed that the gap between the Yes and No sides had narrowed considerably.

A Yes vote in the referendum would end Scotland's 307-year-old union with England and plunge Britain into uncharted constitutional and economic waters.

On Tuesday morning, the British pound tumbled to $1.6065, a 10-month low, before recovering to $1.6114 late in the afternoon.

On the commodity markets, the October crude oil contact on the New York Mercantile Exchange gained nine cents to US$92.75 a barrel.

December copper was down seven cents to US$3.10 a pound while December bullion faded $5.80 to US$1,248.50 an ounce.