Canadian dollar adds to gains after Poloz speech

TORONTO (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar strengthened against its U.S. counterpart on Wednesday, adding to its gains after comments by Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz the day before which were less dovish than investors had expected.

U.S. and Canada Dollar notes are seen in this June 22, 2017 illustration photo. REUTERS/Thomas White/Illustration

In a speech and news conference, Poloz maintained a neutral tone on the next interest rate move, repeating the bank’s message that it was monitoring wage growth and inflation, as well as economic capacity to see how the economy was adjusting to rate hikes in July and September.

The central bank held its benchmark rate steady at 1 percent in October and investors expect no further increases until the first half of 2018.

At 8:43 a.m. ET (1343 GMT), the Canadian dollar CAD=D4 was trading at C$1.2726 to the greenback, or 78.58 U.S. cents, up 0.4 percent.

The currency traded in a range of C$1.2723 to C$1.2777. It has recovered from a 3-1/2 month low at C$1.2916 less than two weeks ago.

Canadian seasonally adjusted housing starts were 222,771 in October, increasing from a revised 219,293 units in September.

In separate domestic housing data, the value of building permits rose by 3.8 percent in September from August, the first increase in three months.

Prices of oil, one of Canada’s major exports, eased as Chinese crude imports fell to a one-year low, but losses were partly offset by investor caution over rising political tensions in the Middle East.

U.S. crude CLc1 prices were down 0.38 percent at $56.98 a barrel.

The U.S. dollar .DXY edged lower against a basket of major currencies, weighed by worries over possible delays to U.S. President Donald Trump's tax reform plans.

Canada will not be rushed into the Trans Pacific Partnership, so as to ensure a deal that serves its best interests, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Wednesday.

Canadian government bond prices were little changed across the yield curve, with the two-year CA2YT=RR flat to yield 1.399 percent and the 10-year CA10YT=RR rising 4 Canadian cents to yield 1.889 percent.

Reporting by Fergal Smith; Editing by Susan Thomas