May 8, 2020 / 2:20 PM / 3 months ago

CANADA FX DEBT-Canadian dollar posts 1-week high as jobs plunge less than feared

    * Canadian dollar rises 0.1% against the greenback
    * Loonie touches a one-week high at 1.3922
    * Price of U.S. oil increases 3.2%
    * Canadian bond yields rise across a steeper curve

    By Fergal Smith
    TORONTO, May 8 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar strengthened
to a one-week high against its U.S. counterpart on Friday as
signs emerged of easing frictions between the United States and
China and domestic data showed a plunge in jobs that was about
half the number expected.    
    Canada lost a record-breaking 2.0 million jobs in April,
when non-essential business was halted across the country to
help contain the coronavirus pandemic, while the unemployment
rate surged to 13.0%, official data showed. Analysts had
forecast a loss of 4 million jobs and an unemployment rate of
18%.             
    "Not as bad a feared, but still a terrible report as the
contraction in the job market accelerated in April amid a full
month of lockdowns," said Ryan Brecht, a senior economist at
Action Economics.
    The U.S. economy, where Canada sends about 75% of its
exports, also lost fewer jobs in April than feared.
    Top U.S. and Chinese trade representatives discussed their
Phase 1 trade deal, with China saying they agreed to improve the
atmosphere for its implementation and the United States saying
both sides expected obligations to be met.             
    Canada runs a current account deficit and is a major
producer of commodities, including oil, so the currency tends to
be sensitive to the global flow of trade and capital.
    U.S. crude        prices were up 3.2% at $24.31 a barrel and
were on track for a second consecutive week of gains as more
countries moved ahead with plans to relax economic and social
lockdowns put in place to halt the coronavirus pandemic and as
more output was shut in.             
    The Canadian dollar          was trading 0.1% higher at
1.3950 to the greenback, or 71.68 U.S. cents. The currency,
which was on track to rise 0.7% for the week, touched its
strongest intraday level since May 1 at 1.3922.
    Separate data, from the Canadian Mortgage and Housing
Corporation (CMHC), showed that Canadian housing starts,
excluding the province of Quebec, rose 10.8% in April compared
with the previous month.             
    Canadian government bond yields rose across a steeper curve,
with the 10-year yield             up 2.8 basis points at
0.577%.

 (Reporting by Fergal Smith; Editing by David Gregorio)
  
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