CANADA FX DEBT-C$ firms on crude, wholesale data; Fed minutes awaited
* Canadian dollar at C$1.2205, or 81.93 U.S. cents * Bond prices higher across the maturity curve TORONTO, May 20 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar was slightly stronger against the greenback on Wednesday as investors awaited the minutes from the U.S. Federal Reserve's last policy meeting and crude prices rebounded somewhat from the previous session's losses. The loonie gained modestly after data showed Canadian wholesale trade rose 0.8 percent in March from February to C$53.94 billion following two consecutive monthly declines. Analysts had expected a 0.9 percent increase. Investors will be seeking clues on when the Fed will resume hiking interest rates, with many still betting on sometime later this year. The minutes for April's meeting are due at 2:00 p.m. EDT (1800 GMT). Many currency strategists are expecting the U.S. dollar to resume its rally. TD Securities said in a note that it was looking to add long USD/CAD positions above C$1.22 and to buy on dips if it nears C$1.19. * At 9:06 a.m. ET, the Canadian dollar was trading at C$1.2205 to the greenback, or 81.93 U.S. cents, stronger than the Bank of Canada's official close of C$1.2232, or 81.75 U.S. cents on Tuesday. * The currency's strongest level of the session was C$1.2197, while its weakest was C$1.2257. * The American Petroleum Institute industry group said U.S. crude stocks fell by 5.2 million barrels last week, more than the 1 million expected by analysts in a Reuters poll. U.S. crude prices were up 1.26 percent at $58.72, while Brent crude added 1.39 percent to $64.91. * Official inventory numbers from the U.S. Energy Information Administration are due at 10:30 a.m. EDT. * The Canadian dollar, which was stronger than most of its key currency counterparts, is expected to trade between C$1.2150 and C$1.2250 against the U.S. dollar on during the North American session on Wednesday, according to RBC Capital Markets. * Canadian government bond prices were higher across the maturity curve, with the two-year price up 2.5 Canadian cents to yield 0.683 percent and the benchmark 10-year rising 29 Canadian cents to yield 1.798 percent. * The Canada-U.S. two-year bond spread was 9.00 basis points, while the 10-year spread was -45.1. (Reporting by Solarina Ho; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)
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