Loonie trades near flat ahead of Bank of Canada survey

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

TORONTO (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar was little changed against its U.S. counterpart on Monday, as oil prices steadied after a sharp decline last week and investors awaited a key business survey from the Bank of Canada.

The Bank of Canada will release the winter issue of the Business Outlook Survey at 10:30 a.m. (1530 GMT), which could help guide interest rate expectations.

Chances of a rate cut this year dipped on Friday to less than 50% after data showing that Canada's economy added 35,200 jobs in December, exceeding the 25,000 gain that economists had forecast. BOCWATCH

U.S. crude oil futures CLc1 were down 0.1% at $58.97 a barrel, trading in a narrow range as investors shifted their focus away from easing Mideast tensions to this week's scheduled signing of an initial U.S.-China trade deal. Oil is one of Canada's major exports.

At 9:06 a.m. (1406 GMT), the Canadian dollar CAD=D4, was trading nearly unchanged at 1.3044 to the greenback, or 76.66 U.S. cents. The currency, which hit on Thursday a near two-week low intraday at 1.3104, traded in a range of 1.3042 to 1.3068.

The loonie declined 0.4% last week, after it notched a 5% gain in 2019, when it was the top-performing G10 currency.

Speculators have more-than doubled their bullish bets on the Canadian dollar, data from the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission and Reuters calculations showed on Friday. As of Jan. 7, net long positions had increased to 26,367 contracts from 11,913 in the prior week.

Canadian government bond prices were lower across a steeper yield curve in sympathy with U.S. Treasuries. The two-year CA2YT=RR fell 2 Canadian cents to yield 1.666% and the 10-year CA10YT=RR was down 22 Canadian cents to yield 1.612%.

Reporting by Fergal Smith; Editing by David Gregorio