Canadian dollar slips, Bank of Canada statement in focus

TORONTO (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar was slightly weaker against its U.S. counterpart on Monday after a big fall to end last week, as investors await a statement from the Bank of Canada on Wednesday.

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

Around 4:00 p.m. ET (2000 GMT), the Canadian dollar CAD=D4 was trading at C$1.2644 to the greenback, or 79.09 U.S. cents, down 0.1 percent and at its weakest level since late August.

The currency had fallen by the most in nine months on Friday as a drop in domestic retail sales bolstered expectations that the central bank would hold steady at a policy announcement on Wednesday after hiking back to back in July and September.

“The more we’re ticking down to the Bank’s meeting, the more I think people are worried about whether the Bank will sound a little dovish. That’s keeping the Canadian dollar soft,” said Mark Chandler, head of Canadian fixed income and currency strategy at RBC Capital Markets.

Friday’s data was the latest to show the pace of Canadian economic growth slowing. This comes after a red-hot first half of the year that saw Canada emerging as a leader among its industrialized peers.

The Bank of Canada is expected to hike rates one more time this year, though an October hike is seen as unlikely, according to the latest poll by Reuters.[nL2N1MS0T9]

Data on Monday showed the value of Canadian wholesale trade rose by 0.5 percent in August from July on strength in personal and household goods as well as motor vehicles and parts, according to Statistics Canada. This was in line with forecasters, and Chandler said the move was not enough to change the overall view of the market.

The greenback has meanwhile been boosted by progress on U.S. tax reforms that raised the prospects of a fiscal lift to its economy.

The European Central Bank is also due to make a policy announcement this week in which it is expected to start trimming its monthly asset purchases.

Canadian government bond prices were mostly higher across the maturity curve, with the two-year CA2YT=RR price down 1 Canadian cent to yield 1.478 and the benchmark 10-year CA10YT=RR up 5 Canadian cents to yield 2.025 percent.

The Canada-U.S. two-year bond spread was -8.6 basis points, while the 10-year spread was -34.5 basis points.

Reporting by Solarina Ho; Additional reporting by Alastair Sharp; Editing by Susan Thomas