Canadian dollar edges higher, boosted by manufacturing sales gain

TORONTO (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar edged higher against its U.S. counterpart on Thursday as data showing a surprise rise in domestic manufacturing sales in September offset lower oil prices.

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

The 0.5 percent increase in manufacturing sales topped economists’ forecasts for a 0.3 percent decline, while volumes rose 0.7 percent.

Separate domestic data showed that foreign investors bought a net C$16.81 billion in Canadian securities in September.

The firm data and a reduced gap between the yields on Canadian and U.S. government debt boosted the Canadian dollar, said Greg Anderson, global head of foreign exchange strategy at BMO Capital Markets in New York.

The gap between Canadian and U.S. 10-year yields narrowed by 1.7 basis points to a spread of -40.3 basis points.

Prices of oil, one of Canada’s major exports, ended lower again on increased concerns about growth in U.S. production and inventories.

U.S. crude CLc1 prices settled 0.3 percent lower at $55.14 a barrel.

At 4 p.m. EST (2100 GMT), the Canadian dollar CAD=D4 was trading at C$1.2756 to the greenback, or 78.39 U.S. cents, up 0.1 percent.

The currency traded in a range of C$1.2729 to C$1.2785.

Investors have also been focusing this week on the resumption of North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) renegotiations. NAFTA working groups began meeting on Wednesday in Mexico. Talks will begin on Friday and continue through Nov. 21.

On Wednesday, Bank of Canada Senior Deputy Governor Carolyn Wilkins said a cautious approach to monetary policy may be prudent during times of uncertainty like today, but caution has its limits because the trade-off can be financial instability.

The Canadian labor market lost momentum in October, a new report showed on Thursday, though traders panned the data and analysts said it did not change their outlook for job growth, which has been strong this year.

Canadian government bond prices were lower across the yield curve after the firm domestic data and as risk appetite recovered globally.

The two-year CA2YT=RR fell 6 Canadian cents to yield 1.480 percent and the 10-year CA10YT=RR declined 47 Canadian cents to yield 1.972 percent.

Canada sold C$500 million of its ultra-long bonds at a 2.251 percent yield, the Bank of Canada said after an auction.

The country’s inflation report for October will be released on Friday.

Reporting by Fergal Smith; Editing by Susan Thomas