CANADA FX DEBT-C$ weakens to fresh 7-month low as oil falls
* Canadian dollar at C$1.3339, or 74.97 U.S. cents * Loonie touches weakest level since March 16 at C$1.3359 * Bond prices lower across yield curve TORONTO, Oct 24 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar weakened to a fresh seven-month low against its U.S. counterpart on Monday as oil prices fell, but pared some losses after stronger-than-expected domestic wholesale trade data. The value of Canadian wholesale trade rose 0.8 percent in August, the fifth consecutive monthly gain, Statistics Canada said. The increase exceeded the 0.6 percent month-on-month advance predicted by analysts in a Reuters poll. The price of U.S. crude was down 0.92 percent at $50.38 a barrel as Iraq said it wanted to be exempt from a deal by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to cut production. Losses for the loonie came after the Bank of Canada acknowledged it had considered cutting interest rates at a policy meeting last week. At 10:01 a.m. EDT (1401 GMT), the Canadian dollar was trading at C$1.3339 to the greenback, or 74.97 U.S. cents, slightly weaker than Friday's close of C$1.3327, or 75.04 U.S. The currency's strongest level of the session was C$1.3326, while it touched its weakest point since March 16 at C$1.3359. The implied probability of a Bank of Canada rate cut by mid-2017 steadied at around 40 percent, after having jumped from around 30 percent before weaker-than-expected domestic retail sales and inflation data on Friday. Canada is in a very good fiscal situation and should not be worried about running up deficits at this point, Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz said in a television interview aired on Sunday. The Bank of Canada and Canadian government on Monday renewed the central bank's inflation target, at the midpoint of a 1 percent to 3 percent range, for another five years, opting to bypass alternative policy goals. Speculators increased bearish bets on the Canadian dollar to the highest level since March, Commodity Futures Trading Commission data showed on Friday. Net short Canadian dollar positions rose to 14,298 contracts in the week ended Oct. 18 from 11,704 in the prior week. Canadian government bond prices were slightly lower across the yield curve, with the two-year price down 0.5 Canadian cent to yield 0.525 percent and the benchmark 10-year falling 3 Canadian cents to yield 1.134 percent. Concerns that a trade deal between the European Union and Canada could be in trouble were heightened after the premier of Belgium's Wallonia region insisted ahead of a crisis meeting of regional leaders with Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel that he would not agree to the deal under pressure. (Reporting by Fergal Smith; Editing by Paul Simao)
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