Loonie takes a hit but shares of most lumber companies rise after duties

The Canadian dollar sank to a 14-month low on Tuesday after the United States announced preliminary duties on Canadian softwood lumber imports, though shares of most lumber producers were up on relief the duties weren't as steep as some estimates.

The loonie hit 73.50 cents, the lowest level since February 2016.

The U.S. Commerce Department levied countervailing duties ranging between 3.02 and 24.12 per cent on five large Canadian producers and 19.88 per cent for all other firms effective May 1.

The duties will be retroactive 90 days for J.D. Irving and producers other than Canfor, West Fraser, Resolute Forest Products and Tolko.

Shares of Western-based Canfor (TSX:CFP) rose 9.46 per cent, West Fraser (TSX:WFT) 8.5 per cent, Interfor (TSX:IFP) two per cent and Norbord (TSX:OSB) 1.3 per cent.

Quebec-based producer Resolute (TSX:RFP) was flat while Tembec (TSX:TMB) was down 1.67 per cent.

Hamir Patel of CIBC World Markets anticipated that most Canadian lumber companies would get a boost because the duties were not very punitive as some had feared.

They were in line with estimates and what was initially imposed in 2001.