Take Stock – July 28

The Canadian dollar has regained some of its former strength, rising briefly to 92.78 cents US early in the day, its highest level since last October.

Canadian dollar reaches levels of last October

The Canadian dollar has regained some of its former strength, rising briefly to 92.78 cents US early in the day, its highest level since last October. Increasing energy prices, particularly higher crude oil, have been a major driver of support for the dollar. BMO Capital markets economist Doug Porter says the loonie has also benefited from solid economic data at home as well as weakness in the American dollar. Porter says the rise of about seven per cent over the past two weeks has been more than could be expected given the supporting fundamentals.

But he says the dollar could move higher still, and while it may backtrack from time to time, the underlying trend is towards a stronger currency — possibly again hitting parity with the U.S. dollar by the end of next year.

West Fraser cuts production at three B.C. mills

West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd. (TSX:WFT) said Monday that it planned to shut down production at three of its B.C. sawmills for at least two weeks starting in August in response to weak markets and a strengthening Canadian dollar. The company said it plans to take market-related curtailments at each of its Houston, 100 Mile and Chasm sawmills. The number of jobs affected was not immediately known. The decision to restart operations is dependent upon market conditions which will be reviewed on an ongoing basis, West Fraser said.

Earlier this month, The company said it would keep cutting costs and production as it enters the fourth year of it called the “the most severe depression in the wood products industry since the 1930s. ” West Fraser, which employs about 8,500 workers in operations in Western Canada and the southern United States, produces lumber, wood chips, fibreboard, plywood, pulp, linerboard, kraft paper, and newsprint.

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