Canadian dollar outshines G10 peers as Ottawa adds to economic support

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

TORONTO (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar strengthened against its U.S. counterpart on Thursday as oil prices rose and Ottawa raised support for the unemployed, with the loonie bouncing back from an earlier seven-week low, which it hit as investors weighed rising coronavirus cases.

U.S. crude oil futures CLc1 settled nearly 1% higher at $40.31 a barrel as a drop in U.S. crude inventories offset worries a new wave of coronavirus cases in Europe could hurt the outlook for demand.

Investors have had to reduce their expectations for the speed of economic recovery, but “I don’t think we are going to see the type of (market) panic that we saw last spring in any way, shape or form,” said Brad Meiers, head of debt capital markets and syndication at HSBC Securities (Canada) Inc.

“The markets are comforted by the fact that there are no governments saying ‘OK, our job is done.’ Clearly, they all realize it is not done yet,” Meiers said.

Canada’s government boosted a proposed weekly payout for the jobless that would replace emergency COVID-19 income support that ends this weekend, a move that looks set to help the ruling Liberals win a parliamentary confidence vote.

Ottawa’s vow to double down on pandemic-related spending will support activity but raises questions over the burgeoning deficit, economists say.

The Canadian dollar CAD= was trading 0.3% higher at 1.3349 to the greenback, or 74.91 U.S. cents, which was the biggest gain among G10 currencies. Earlier, the currency touched its weakest level since Aug. 4 at 1.3417.

Wall Street rallied in a rocky session on Thursday as beaten-down technology shares gained favor after data showing a surge in the sale of new homes revived faith in the economic recovery even as U.S. jobless claims rose unexpectedly.

Canadian government bond yields were little changed across the curve, with the 10-year CA10YT=RR trading at 0.557%.

Reporting by Fergal Smith; Editing by Steve Orlofsky and Jonathan Oatis