March 26, 2020 / 1:48 PM / 4 months ago

CANADA FX DEBT-Canadian dollar climbs to nine-day high as greenback falters

    * Canadian dollar rises 0.7% against the greenback
    * Loonie touches its strongest since March 17 at 1.4078
    * Price of U.S. oil decreases 2.6%
    * Canadian bond yields fall across a flatter curve

    TORONTO, March 26 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar
strengthened to a nine-day high against its U.S. counterpart on
Thursday as data showing a surge in American unemployment
benefit claims weighed on the greenback, with the loonie adding
to the prior day's largest rally in four years.
    At 9:16 a.m. (1316 GMT), the Canadian dollar          was
trading 0.7% higher at 1.4092 to the greenback, or 70.96 U.S.
cents. The currency touched its strongest intraday level since
March 17 at 1.4078.
    On Wednesday, the loonie surged 1.9%, its biggest gain since
March 2016.
    The rally for the loonie on Wednesday came as Canada doubled
the value of an aid package to C$52 billion ($36.9 million) to
help people and businesses deal with losses from the coronavirus
    Ontario, Canada's most populous province, also said it would
provide coronavirus aid. Its package is worth C$17 billion
including tax deferrals.              
    The U.S. dollar        fell against a basket of major
currencies for a fourth straight day, while U.S. crude oil
futures        were down 2.6% at $23.85 a barrel. Oil is one of
Canada's biggest exports.                          
    Canadian oil and gas companies are urging Ottawa to free up
credit and cash to help them survive the twin shocks of COVID-19
spread and a crude price war, pitching ideas ranging from tax
deferrals to backstopping bank loans.             
    The number of Americans filing claims for unemployment
benefits shot to record of more than 3 million last week as
strict measures to contain the coronavirus pandemic ground the
country to a sudden halt.                     
    Canadian government bond yields fell across a flatter curve
in sympathy with U.S. Treasuries. The 10-year             was
down 8.3 basis points at 0.819%.

 (Reporting by Fergal Smith; editing by Jonathan Oatis)
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