Canadian dollar notches small gain in choppy trade

Thu Feb 11, 2016 4:30pm EST
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By Fergal Smith

TORONTO (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar rose slightly against its U.S. counterpart on Thursday, reversing earlier losses as a potential move toward oil production cuts tempered a reduction in risk appetite.

The risk-sensitive commodity-linked currency fell to its lowest in more than a week as crude oil prices and stocks fell, then rebounded amid speculation that OPEC was moving closer to oil production cuts.

"It's been a choppy day," said Scott Smith at Cambridge Global Payments.

A renewed slump in banking and mining stocks weighed on risk appetite. Markets have worried this week that negative rates have hit banks' ability to earn margins on interest rates.

U.S. oil prices fell for a sixth straight day, approaching 12-year lows hit last month, weighed by brimming crude inventories and a Goldman Sachs forecast that prices would remain low and volatile until the second half of the year. [O/R]

Lower oil prices added to risk that the Bank of Canada will have more of a bias toward rate cuts, said Smith.

The Canadian dollar CAD=D4 settled at C$1.3921 to the greenback, or 71.83 U.S. cents, slightly stronger than Wednesday's official close of C$1.3933, or 71.77 U.S. cents.

The currency's strongest level of the session was C$1.3884, while it hit its weakest since Feb. 3 at C$1.4018.   Continued...

A Canadian dollar coin, commonly known as the "Loonie", is pictured in this illustration picture taken in Toronto January 23, 2015. REUTERS/Mark Blinch