January 20, 2020 / 2:58 PM / in 2 months

CANADA FX DEBT-Loonie idles ahead of Bank of Canada rate decision this week

    * Canadian dollar trades near flat against the greenback
    * Canadian home prices rise 0.2% in December
    * Price of U.S oil increases 0.7%
    * Canadian bond prices trade mixed across the yield curve

    TORONTO, Jan 20 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar was little
changed against its U.S. counterpart on Monday as domestic data
showed home prices moving higher in December and investors
awaited a Bank of Canada interest rate decision this week.
    The Teranet-National Bank Composite House Price Index showed
prices rose 0.2% last month from November, helped by gains for
some metropolitan areas in the central and eastern parts of the
country.             
    The Bank of Canada has pointed to housing activity as a
source of resilience in the Canadian economy. The central bank
is expected to leave its benchmark interest rate on hold at
1.75% on Wednesday, when it will also update its economic
outlook.           
    A revival in the Canadian economy may already be under way,
according to a Reuters poll of economists, who were mostly
confident a rate cut was not needed and so predicted monetary
policy would remain unchanged this year.             
    At 9:37 a.m. (1437 GMT), the Canadian dollar          was
trading nearly unchanged at 1.3059 to the greenback, or 76.58
U.S. cents. The currency, which has settled into a sideways
trading pattern since hitting a near two-week low on Jan. 9 at
1.3104, traded in a range of 1.3050 to 1.3072.
    Trading volumes were thin as Lunar New Year approaches in
Asia and with U.S markets closed for Martin Luther King day on
Monday.             
    The price of oil, one of Canada's major exports, rose after
two large crude production bases in Libya began shutting down
amid a military blockade, risking reducing crude flows from the
OPEC member to a trickle. U.S. crude oil futures        were up
0.7% at $58.94 a barrel.             
    Speculators have raised bullish bets on the Canadian dollar
for the third straight week, data from the U.S. Commodity
Futures Trading Commission and Reuters calculations showed on
Friday. As of Jan. 14, net long positions had increased to
32,852 contracts from 26,367 in the prior week.
    Canadian government bond prices were mixed across the yield
curve on Monday, with the two-year            flat to yield
1.648 percent and the 10-year             falling 9 Canadian
cents to yield 1.572%.
    Canada's inflation report for December is due on Wednesday,
while November retail sales data is due on Friday.

 (Reporting by Fergal Smith; editing by Nick Macfie)
  
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