January 22, 2018 / 2:34 PM / 9 months ago

CANADA FX DEBT-C$ strengthens ahead of NAFTA talks as wholesale trade rises

    * Canadian dollar at C$1.2459, or 80.26 U.S. cents
    * Canadian wholesale trade rises 0.7 percent in November
    * Bond prices little changed across the yield curve

    TORONTO, Jan 22 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar strengthened
against its U.S. counterpart on Monday, gravitating toward the
middle of this year's range ahead of the resumption of talks to
renegotiate NAFTA and as investors weighed domestic data showing
an increase in wholesale trade.
    The value of Canadian wholesale trade rose for the second
month in a row in November on broad gains across sectors, data
from Statistics Canada showed. The 0.7 percent increase was shy
of economists' forecasts for a 1 percent gain, while volumes
rose 0.5 percent.             
    The sixth and penultimate round of talks on renegotiating
the North American Free Trade Agreement is due to take place in
Montreal from Jan. 23-29.
    The future of NAFTA was the most significant downside risk
the economy faced, the Bank of Canada said last week as it
raised its benchmark interest rate, as expected, but tempered
expectations for additional increases over the coming months.
    Separately, the member countries of the Comprehensive and
Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTTP),
also known as TPP 11, gathered in Japan for two days of talks to
try to forge a trade pact.             
    Canada is holding out to secure protection of its cultural
industries, like movies, TV, and music, and has said it will not
be rushed into signing a deal that other members hope to
conclude by March.
    At 9:20 a.m. EST (1420 GMT), the Canadian dollar         
was trading 0.3 percent higher at C$1.2459 to the greenback, or
80.26 U.S. cents.
    The currency traded in a range of C$1.2457 to C$1.252. Since
the start of the year, the range has been C$1.2355 to C$1.2590.
    Speculators have raised bullish bets on the Canadian dollar
for the second straight week, data from the U.S. Commodity
Futures Trading Commission and Reuters calculations showed on
Friday. As of Jan. 16, net long positions had edged up to 17,556
contracts from 17,461 a week earlier.    
    The U.S. dollar        dipped against a basket of major
currencies, pressured by a U.S. government shutdown and
strengthening economic growth in Europe that encouraged large
investors to boost their expectations on the euro.              
  
    Canadian government bond prices little changed across the
yield curve, with 10-year             rising 5 Canadian cents to
yield 2.237 percent. The 10-year yield touched its highest
intraday since September 2014 at 2.246 percent.
    U.S. crude        prices were up 0.1 percent at $63.44 a
barrel. Oil is one of Canada's major exports.                

 (Reporting by Fergal Smith; Editing by Frances Kerry)
  
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