August 14, 2017 / 1:48 PM / 2 months ago

Canadian dollar dips with oil prices; NAFTA renegotiations loom

TORONTO (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar weakened on Monday against its U.S. counterpart as oil prices fell and the greenback posted broader gains, while investors awaited the start of renegotiations of the NAFTA trade pact this week.

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

Prices of oil, one of Canada’s major exports, fell as a slowdown in Chinese refining raised concerns about demand for crude in the Asian country.

The U.S. dollar .DXY edged higher against a trade-weighted basket of currencies after posting its biggest weekly drop in three weeks as expectations of U.S. interest rate increases dwindled further after weak inflation data.

U.S. crude CLc1 prices were down 0.45 percent at $48.60 a barrel.

The Canadian government’s goals for talks on modernizing the North American Free Trade Agreement include preserving the pact’s dispute-settlement mechanism, Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said, setting up a potential clash with the United States.

At 9:16 a.m. ET (1316 GMT), the Canadian dollar CAD=D4 was trading at C$1.2704 to the greenback, or 78.72 U.S. cents, down 0.2 percent.

The currency traded in a range of C$1.2675 to C$1.2716. On Friday, the loonie touched its weakest in four weeks at C$1.2753.

Still, 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 dollar net long positions rose to 62,821 contracts as of Aug. 8 from 40,638 contracts a week earlier.

Tension on the Korean peninsula eased slightly and risk-sensitive assets, such as stocks, rallied as U.S. officials played down the risk of an imminent war.

As a major commodity producer, Canada could be hurt if geopolitics hamper global trade.

Canadian government bond prices were lower across a steeper yield curve in sympathy with U.S. Treasuries, as investor demand weakened for low-risk government debt. The two-year CA2YT=RR fell 3.5 Canadian cents to yield 1.229 percent and the 10-year CA10YT=RR declined 35 Canadian cents to yield 1.893 percent.

Canada’s inflation report for July is due on Friday.

Reporting by Fergal Smith; Editing by W Simon

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