April 2, 2020 / 7:43 PM / 2 months ago

CANADA FX DEBT-Canadian dollar edges higher in seesaw session as oil surges

 (Adds analyst quote and details throughout; updates prices)
    * Canadian dollar rises 0.1% against the greenback
    * Price of U.S. oil climbs 24.7%
    * Canada posts narrower-than-expected trade deficit in
February
    * Canadian bond yields rise across a steeper curve

    By Fergal Smith
    TORONTO, April 2 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar
strengthened slightly in choppy trading against its U.S.
counterpart on Thursday, as oil prices rallied but a spike in
U.S. jobless claims weighed on investor sentiment.    
    After a sharp decline on Wednesday, stock markets globally
         remained jittery, with data showing the number of
Americans filing claims for unemployment benefits soared to a
record high of more than 6 million as more jurisdictions
enforced stay-at-home measures to curb the coronavirus pandemic.
            
     Canada runs a current account deficit and is a major
exporter of commodities, including oil, so the loonie tends to
be sensitive to the global flow of trade and capital.
    U.S. crude oil futures        settled 24.7% higher at $25.32
a barrel after U.S. President Donald Trump said he expected
Russia and Saudi Arabia to announce a major oil production cut,
and Saudi state media said the kingdom was calling an emergency
meeting of producers to deal with the market turmoil.
                
    Canada posted a trade deficit of C$983 million in February,
data from Statistics Canada showed. Analysts had forecast a
deficit of C$1.87 billion.             
    The trade deficit was narrower than expected "but the look
in the rear view mirror was of no interest to the markets," said
analysts at Action Economics. 
    At 3:01 p.m. (1901 GMT), the Canadian dollar          was
trading 0.1% higher at 1.4186 to the greenback, or 70.49 U.S.
cents. The currency, which has fallen more than 8% since the
start of the year, traded in a range of 1.4081 to 1.4298.    
    Canada now has more than 10,000 coronavirus cases and the
death toll has jumped 21% from a day earlier to 127, according
to data posted by the country's public health agency.
            
    Ottawa is rolling out more than C$200 billion in support for
Canada's economy, including direct aid to Canadians, wage
subsidies for businesses, loan programs and tax deferrals, while
the Bank of Canada has slashed interest rates to nearly zero and
is buying government bonds in large quantities, known as
quantitative easing.                                  
    Canadian government bond yields rose across a steeper curve.
The 10-year              was up 3.6 basis points at 0.650%. 

 (Reporting by Fergal Smith; Editing by Marguerita Choy and
Peter Cooney)
  
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