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Canadian dollar declines amid lower wholesale sales, mixed commodities

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TORONTO - The Canadian dollar closed lower Tuesday amid data showing lower wholesale sales in March and falling oil and metal prices.

The loonie was down 0.36 of a cent at 91.75 cents US as Statistics Canada reported that wholesale sales decreased 0.4 per cent to $50.5 billion in March. The decline followed two consecutive monthly gains.

The agency said that the motor vehicle and parts subsector recorded the largest decline in March. Excluding this subsector, wholesale sales edged up 0.1 per cent to $42.3 billion.

Markets are looking ahead to two other major reports this week.

The March reading on Canadian retail sales comes out Thursday and economists are looking for a rise of 0.3 per cent.

On Friday, markets will look to the latest inflation data and, in turn, what effect the reading could have on the Bank of Canada's interest rate announcement in early June.

Economists expect the inflation data will show that the consumer price index rose two per cent year over year in April, up from the 1.5 per cent reading registered in the previous month.

On the commodity markets, July copper was off two cents to US$3.14 a pound, June gold bullion edged up 80 cents to US$1,294.60 an ounce and the June crude contract in New York lost early gains and declined 17 cents to US$102.44 a barrel.

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