February 28, 2019 / 9:35 PM / 22 days ago

CANADA FX DEBT-C$ recoups losses as investors buy loonies at month-end

 (Adds dealer quotes and details on activity; updates prices)
    * Loonie was flat vs greenback; down 0.2 percent for the
month
    * Canada's current account deficit widens to C$15.48 billion
in Q4
    * Price of U.S. oil rises 0.5 percent
    * Canadian bond prices trade lower across steeper yield
curve

    By Fergal Smith
    TORONTO, Feb 28 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar was steady
against its U.S. counterpart on Thursday, reversing its earlier
decline as oil prices rose and investors bought the loonies they
needed at month-end to rebalance their portfolios.
    At 4:00 p.m. (2100 GMT), the Canadian dollar          was
trading unchanged at 1.3157 to the greenback, or 76.01 U.S.
cents. The currency, which on Monday touched its strongest in
nearly three weeks at 1.3113, traded in a range of 1.3140 to
1.3206.
    For the month, the Canadian dollar fell 0.2 percent. Still,
the loonie's 3.7 percent gain since the start of the year lags
only sterling among G10 currencies.
    "This is flow driven ... this is supply of dollars and need
to buy CAD," said Brad Schruder, director of corporate sales and
structuring at BMO Capital Markets. "Traders are trading their
positions cautiously ahead of the GDP tomorrow, with an eye
towards the bank."
    Canada's fourth-quarter GDP data is due on Friday, which can
help guide expectations for next week's interest rate decision
by the Bank of Canada. 
    The central bank, which is widely expected to leave its
benchmark interest rate on hold next week at 1.75 percent, said
in January that low oil prices harmed the economy in the fourth
quarter of 2018 and will continue to do so in the first quarter
of this year.             
    U.S. crude oil futures        settled 0.5 percent higher on
Thursday at $57.22 a barrel despite signs of slower economic
growth in China and India.             
    Canada's current account deficit widened to C$15.48 billion
in the fourth quarter from a revised C$10.11 billion deficit in
the third quarter as a sharp drop in energy prices triggered a 
higher deficit on trade goods, data from Statistics Canada
showed.                     
    Separate data from Statistics Canada showed that producer
prices fell by 0.3 percent in January from December on lower
prices for energy and petroleum products. Analysts had expected
a 0.1 percent increase in industrial prices.             
    Canadian government bond prices were lower across a steeper
yield curve in sympathy with U.S. Treasuries. The two-year
           fell 1.5 Canadian cents to yield 1.783 percent and
the 10-year             declined 28 Canadian cents to yield
1.948 percent.

 (Reporting by Fergal Smith
Editing by Susan Thomas)
  
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