Loonie rises amid higherthanexpected inflation data strong retail sales

Loonie rises amid higher-than-expected inflation data, strong retail sales AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email by Linda Nguyen, The Canadian Press Posted Jun 20, 2014 7:36 am MDT TORONTO – The loonie rose more than half a cent Friday as the pace of inflation picked up last month and raised the possibility that the Bank of Canada may move to raise interest rates more quickly than first thought.The Canadian dollar jumped 0.61 of a cent to 93.01 cents US.Statistics Canada said the annual pace of inflation rose to 2.3 per cent in May, bumped up by higher energy prices. It the first time it’s surpassed the central bank’s two per cent target in more than two years.The emerging view among analysts is that while there is little danger of runaway inflation, the risk of low inflation is largely gone given the continuing strength in oil prices and expectations of a growing economy in the U.S. and Canada.Mark Chandler, head of Canadian fixed income and currency strategy at RBC Capital Markets, said the loonie’s strength is coming from the increased possibility that factors the Bank of Canada was citing as a cause for rising inflation, may not be as temporary as the central bank thought.If that’s the case, there’s a greater chance that the Bank of Canada may move to hike rates to offset inflation. However, most economists still think such a hike won’t come until mid-2015.Core inflation, which excludes temporary volatility in categories like oil, rose three-tenths of a point to 1.7 per cent — still below the bank’s ideal target of 2.0 per cent and within its target range of between 1.0 and 3.0 per cent.Lower interest rates have kept the Canadian dollar lower and helped the country’s export sales.Chandler said the Canadian dollar has also been supported by higher oil prices derived from the geopolitical instability in Iraq.Continued uncertainty in the Middle East, along with growing tensions between Russia and Ukraine, have raised concerns that the world’s oil supplies may be put at risk. The August crude contract advanced 78 cents to US$106.83 a barrel.Sunni extremists recently seized a number of areas in the northern part of the country, including Iraq’s second-largest city, Mosul, a key gateway for oil exports. The militants have spent the past two days trying to take over the country’s largest oil refinery.But Chandler said although the loonie is currently on an upward trajectory, it can easily be thrown off by a number of factors, including a stronger U.S. dollar.That’s a real possibility, as the U.S. continues to show signs of a steadily growing economy.The U.S. Labor Department reported Friday that employers added 217,000 jobs in May, the fourth straight month of gains above 200,000, the first such stretch since 1999. The unemployment rate remained at 6.3 per cent, matching a five-year low.Follow @LindaNguyenTO on Twitter. read more

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Senior UN officials urge Brazzaville to halt expulsion of DR Congo nationals

More than 130,000 DRC nationals have been expelled from Brazzaville, capital of Republic of the Congo, since early April, according to a statement from the UN Mission in the country, known by its French acronym MONUSCO. “I heard numerous testimonies of victims of gross human rights abuses and cruel treatments,” said Martin Kobler, head of MONUSCO and Special Representative of the Secretary-General in the DRC. He visited a transit camp on the outskirt of Kinshasa, the capital of DRC, where several thousands of expelled are currently gathered. Kinshasa and Brazzaville face each other across the Congo River. “I heard stories of children drowning in the river during their forced crossing. I saw a man injured by bullets and mothers who had given birth alone on the shore of the Congo River,” he added, urging that “all this has to stop”. Zainab Hawa Bangura, Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, joined Mr. Kobler’s call: “We have received reports alleging that sexual violence is being committed before and during the expulsion exercise, and this is unacceptable.”Ms. Bangura and Mr. Kobler urge the two neighboring countries to ensure that administrative and security officials “act in full compliance with the principles of good neighborliness and preserve peace and international security in conformity with the UN Charter”, according to the joint statement. While the conditions for people to stay in a foreign country are part of the sovereign responsibility of the host country, deportations should be made in strict compliance with the principles and rules of the international law, they reminded the authorities. “Mass expulsions are contrary to principles within the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights and international law more broadly,” Mr. Kobler said. read more

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