Canadian dollar holds near two-week low as growth prospects worry investors

TORONTO (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar edged higher on Monday but held near an earlier two-week low as Canada’s yield curve inverted further, with investors worrying about slower growth prospects for the domestic and global economies.

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

U.S. stocks extended the previous session’s steep sell-off as fears for economic growth persisted despite better-than-expected data from Germany.

The price of oil, one of Canada’s major exports, also lost ground. U.S. crude oil futures settled 0.4 percent lower at $58.82 a barrel.

“Short of oil having a huge rally I don’t really see much to like for the Canadian dollar at the moment,” said Christian Lawrence, senior market strategist at Rabobank. “I am not really surprised given how things are getting domestically in terms of data.”

On Friday, domestic data showed weak inflation and a surprise drop in retail sales, while Canada’s yield curve inverted for the first time since 2007.

Inversion is seen by some investors as a leading indicator of recession.

At 3:14 p.m. (1914 GMT), the Canadian dollar was trading 0.1 percent higher at 1.3413 to the greenback, or 74.55 U.S. cents. The currency touched its weakest intraday level since March 8 at 1.3445.

The two-week low for the loonie came as a top Canadian official said that many Canadians question why Ottawa should ratify a new North American free trade deal given Washington’s refusal to lift U.S. tariffs on exports of steel and aluminum.

Canada’s trade report for January is due on Wednesday, while January gross domestic product data is due on Friday.

Canadian government bond prices were higher across the yield curve in sympathy with U.S. Treasuries. The two-year rose 8.5 Canadian cents to yield 1.488 percent and the 10-year climbed 34 Canadian cents to yield 1.558 percent.

The 10-year yield, which touched its lowest intraday level since June 2017 at 1.532 percent, traded 4.4 points further below the yield on the 3-month T-bill to a spread of -9.7 basis points.

Reporting by Fergal Smith; Editing by Susan Thomas and Sandra Maler