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Sep 13, 2017

Loonie holds steady as oil rallies


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The Canadian dollar held steady on Wednesday against its broadly stronger U.S. counterpart, as oil prices rose and after Canada's finance minister indicated he could live with a more robust loonie.

At 4 p.m. ET, the Canadian dollar was nearly unchanged at $1.2183 to the greenback, or 82.08 cents US. The currency's strongest level of the session was $1.2131, while it touched its weakest level since Sept. 7 at $1.2220.

"It is more a U.S. dollar strength story," said Scott Lampard, head of global markets at HSBC Bank Canada.

The U.S. dollar rose against a basket of major currencies after a report showed U.S. producer prices rebounded in August. Against the euro, the loonie gained 0.6 per cent to $1.4473.

The price of oil rose after the International Energy Agency said the global oil surplus was starting to shrink. U.S. crude prices settled 2.2 per cent higher at US$49.30 a barrel.

Finance Minister Bill Morneau told Reuters in an interview late on Tuesday that the recent rise of the currency reflected the country's economic strengths.

The Canadian dollar has rallied more than 13 per cent against the U.S. greenback since early May and touched its strongest in more than two years on Friday. Data on Wednesday showed that lending to Canadian small businesses climbed to the highest level in 1-1/2 years in July, pointing to a pickup in corporate spending that could help underpin recent economic strength.  

Canada's economy has expanded at a rapid pace this year, prompting the Bank of Canada to raise interest rates in July and last week after sitting on the sidelines for nearly seven years.

Still, the Bank of Canada is likely done raising interest rates this year, a Reuters poll of primary dealers showed on Thursday.   

"There are really divergent views on the direction of interest rates and bank policy from this moment in time and that's creating a bit more of an interesting trading environment," Lampard said.

Canadian government bond prices were lower across the yield curve, with the 10-year falling 12 cents to yield 2.058 per cent. The yield reached its highest intraday since November 2014 at 2.074 per cent.