Canadian dollar retreats from eight-day high ahead of FOMC decision

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

TORONTO (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar edged lower against its U.S. counterpart on Wednesday, pulling back from an earlier eight-day high as oil prices fell and as investors awaited an interest rate decision from the U.S. Federal Reserve.

The price of oil, one of Canada’s major exports, was pressured by an unexpected rise in U.S. crude inventories. U.S. crude prices were down 0.1% at $63.83 a barrel. [O/R]

The Fed, leaning back against pressure from President Donald Trump to slash interest rates, is expected to leave borrowing costs unchanged on Wednesday as it maintains a “patient” monetary policy stance amid strong economic growth.

At 9:19 a.m. (1319 GMT), the Canadian dollar was trading 0.1% lower at 1.3400 to the greenback, or 74.63 U.S. cents. The currency touched its strongest intraday level since April 23 at 1.3378.

The eight-day high for the loonie came one day after Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz said the Canadian economy faces some headwinds but there was good reason to believe growth would accelerate in the second half of this year.

Canada’s central bank is buying time for the economy to exit a soft patch without the aid of lower interest rates, economists say, by forecasting growth so weak it would take a surprise blow to activity for the economy to undershoot its estimates.

Canadian government bond prices were mixed across the yield curve, with the two-year flat to yield 1.563% and the 10-year rising 5 Canadian cents to yield 1.707%.

Reporting by Fergal Smith; editing by Jonathan Oatis