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Loonie holds near December high after U.S.-China trade deal

TORONTO (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar edged lower against its U.S. counterpart on Thursday but held onto most of the previous day’s gains as investors cheered news of a U.S.-China trade deal and after the Bank of Canada was untroubled by November’s jobs decline.

A Canadian dollar coin, commonly known as the "Loonie", is pictured in this illustration picture taken in Toronto January 23, 2015. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

The U.S. dollar .DXY rallied against a basket of major currencies and Wall Street's main indexes hit record highs following news that the United States had reached a "deal in principle" with China to resolve a trade war that has rattled markets for nearly two years.

Canada is a major exporter of commodities, including oil, so its economy could benefit from reduced global trade uncertainty. U.S. crude oil futures CLc1 settled 0.7% higher at $59.18 a barrel.

“Positive trade news is going to be positive for the Canadian dollar,” said Andrew Sierocinski, foreign exchange analyst at Klarity FX.

A recent weakening in Canada’s labor market, underscored by major job losses in November, is unlikely to weigh heavily on future monetary policy decisions, Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz said.

Poloz is sending the message that the economic outlook is looking better than at the bank’s monetary policy report in October, Sierocinski said, though he said that message may be too optimistic.

At 4:32 p.m. (2132 GMT), the Canadian dollar CAD=D4 was trading 0.1% lower at 1.3184 to the greenback, or 75.85 U.S. cents. The currency traded in a range of 1.3163 to 1.3194, within reach of its December peak at 1.3158.

On Wednesday, the loonie rallied 0.5% after the U.S. Federal Reserve’s benign inflation outlook reduced expectations for a rate hike any time soon.

Canadian government bond prices were lower across a steeper yield curve in sympathy with U.S. Treasuries. The two-year CA2YT=RR fell 7 Canadian cents to yield 1.701% and the 10-year CA10YT=RR was down 80 Canadian cents to yield 1.671%.

The 10-year yield touched its highest intraday level since May 23 at 1.682%.

Reporting by Fergal Smith; editing by Jonathan Oatis and Leslie Adler

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