January 31, 2020 / 2:41 PM / 18 days ago

CANADA FX DEBT-Loonie extends monthly decline to 1.7% as virus fears weigh

    * Canadian dollar declines 0.1% against the greenback
    * For the month, the loonie weakens 1.7%
    * Canadian GDP rises 0.1% in November
    * Canada's 10-year yield eases 3.8 basis points to 1.292%

    By Fergal Smith
    TORONTO, Jan 31 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar weakened to
a seven-week low against the greenback on Friday, adding to its
monthly decline as the coronavirus weighed on sentiment, but
some of the loonie's decline was pared after data showed growth
in Canada's economy.
    At 9:12 a.m. (1412 GMT), the Canadian dollar          was
trading 0.1% lower at 1.3221 to the greenback, or 75.64 U.S.
cents. The currency touched its weakest intraday level since
Dec. 10 at 1.3245.
    For January, the loonie was down 1.7%, its biggest monthly
decline since December 2018. It follows a 5% gain in 2019, when
the loonie was the top-performing G10 currency.
    Canadian gross domestic product edged up by 0.1% in November
as increases in utilities as a result of a cold weather snap
helped to offset the effects of a rail strike, Statistics Canada
said on Friday. Analysts had forecast no change.             
    "The return to growth in Canada's economy during November
suggests that activity at the end of the year was not quite as
poor as feared," said Ryan Brecht, a senior economist at Action
Economics.
    Last week, the Bank of Canada left the door open to an
interest rate cut should a recent slowdown in domestic growth
persist. Money markets see about a 50% chance that the central
bank will ease by April.                        
    A potential risk to Canada's economic outlook could be a
slowdown in the global economy due to China's coronavirus
epidemic. Worries over the fallout from the virus weighed on
world shares, which were heading for their biggest weekly losses
since August, while oil and metals markets were showing even
more brutal damage.             
    Oil, one of Canada's major exports, has fallen more-than 20%
from this month's peak to about $52 a barrel.             
    Canadian government bond yields were lower across a flatter
yield curve, with the 10-year yield             falling 3.8
basis points to 1.292%. On Thursday, the 10-year yield touched
its lowest intraday level since Oct. 8 at 1.276%.

 (Reporting by Fergal Smith
Editing by Nick Zieminski)
  
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