* S&P/TSX composite up 0.34 percent at 11,724.78
* Materials, energy shares lead TSX higher (Adds details, quotes)
By Claire Sibonney
TORONTO, Jan 18 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index was higher on Monday morning as energy producers and miners rose on the back of stronger commodity prices, which got support as the U.S. dollar weakened.
At 10:15 a.m. (1515 GMT), the S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was up 39.41 points, or 0.34 percent, at 11,724.78.
“We saw oil up this morning, so that’s certainly making people a lot happier,” said Brian Pow, vice president at Acumen Capital Partners in Calgary.
Oil rallied above $78 a barrel, snapping a five-day losing streak as the U.S. dollar eased against a basket of currencies.
Raw material prices also got support from hopes for strong Chinese demand, which lifted global equities on Monday. [GLOB/MKTS]
“On the metals side you’re just seeing some renewed confidence that maybe we are moving forward and there will be some good demand,” Pow said.
A raft of Chinese data this week, ranging from fourth-quarter GDP to December retail sales and industrial production could give clues on whether Chinese domestic consumption is helping to offset persistent weakness in U.S. demand.
But concerns remain that China’s central bank could act again to cool inflation pressures in the economy.
“If we see the Chinese government for example do some of the things they did on the banking side to try to sort of temper the enthusiasm over there, and try to temper inflation, then that’s certainly going to impact us as well,” Pow said.
Trading was light as U.S. markets, which Canada often takes direction from, were closed for the Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
$1=$1.03 Canadian Reporting by Claire Sibonney; editing by Peter Galloway