August 8, 2017 / 1:56 PM / in 2 months

Canadian dollar hovers near a three-week low as oil falls

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

TORONTO (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar steadied on Tuesday against its U.S. counterpart, holding near a three-week low set the day before, as oil prices fell and data showed slower Chinese and German trade growth.

U.S. crude CLc1 prices were down 0.63 percent at $49.08 a barrel as high oil production in many parts of the world offset news of lower crude supplies from Saudi Arabia.

Oil is one of Canada’s major exports.

Chinese and German trade data disappointed, suggesting global demand may be starting to flag just as central banks contemplate scaling back stimulus.

Slower global demand could weigh on commodity-linked currencies, such as the Canadian dollar.

At 9:34 a.m. EDT (1334 GMT), the Canadian dollar CAD=D4 was trading nearly unchanged at C$1.2679 to the greenback, or 78.87 U.S. cents.

The currency traded in a range of C$1.2652 to C$1.2689. On Monday, when Canada’s stock and bond markets were closed for a public holiday, the loonie touched its weakest since July 14 at C$1.2715.

Domestic data on Friday had showed employment growth in July that kept expectations alive for another interest rate hike in the coming months, but also a jump in the trade deficit.

The trade data “point to the need for a weaker C$,” Benjamin Reitzes, senior economist and foreign exchange strategist at BMO Capital Markets said in a research note.

Speculators have increased bullish bets on the loonie to the highest level since January 2013, according to data from the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission and Reuters calculations on Friday.

Canadian government bond prices were nearly flat across the yield curve with the two-year CA2YT=RR down 1 Canadian cent to yield 1.243 percent and the 10-year CA10YT=RR unchanged to yield 1.921 percent.

The 10-year yield fell 1.4 basis points further below its U.S. equivalent to a spread of -35.0 basis points. It had touched at the end of July its narrowest since October 2014 at -23.6 basis points.

Domestic housing data is awaited this week. Reports on housing starts for July and building permits for June are due on Wednesday while the June new housing price index is set for Thursday.

Reporting by Fergal Smith; Editing by Bill Trott

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