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Canadian dollar lower amid mixed economic data, traders look to July jobs data

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TORONTO - The Canadian dollar closed at a three-month low Tuesday amid mixed economic news.

The loonie was down 0.28 of a cent to 91.24 cents US, its lowest close since May 2.

In Canada, the major economic report of the week is July employment data which comes out on Friday. Economists expect that about 25,000 jobs were created during the month.

Ahead of the jobs figures, data out Tuesday showed that reports on the U.S. non-manufacturing sector and factory orders beat forecasts.

The U.S. Institute for Supply Management’s non-manufacturing index showed solid expansion, climbing to 58.7 in July from 56 in June, versus the 56.5 gain that economists had expected.

June factory orders climbed 1.1 per cent after dropping 0.5 per cent, much better than the 0.6 per cent rise that was expected.

Overseas, service industries in the world’s second-biggest economy grew at the slowest rate last month since November 2005. The HSBC index of China service businesses activity fell to 50 in July from 53.1 in the previous month.

The weak figure shows the impact of a slowdown in China’s property market, said HSBC chief China economist Qu Hongbin.

Other data pointed to signs that the eurozone economy continues to mend.

Financial information company Markit said Tuesday its purchasing managers’ index — a key survey of business activity — for the 18-country eurozone rose a point to a three-month high of 53.8 in July.

Growth in the eurozone has been paltry since emerging from its longest-ever recession over a year ago. Markit's July survey points to a quarterly growth rate of 0.4 per cent, which equates to an annualized rise of just 1.6 per cent.

Commodity prices were lower as September crude lost 91 cents to US$97.38 a barrel, the soft Chinese data helped push September copper down four cents to US$3.20 a pound while December bullion faded $3.60 to US$1,285.30 an ounce.

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