Canadian dollar clings to this week's gains as oil rises

TORONTO (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar was little changed against its U.S. counterpart on Thursday, holding this week’s gains as higher oil prices offset broader gains for the greenback.

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

At 4:00 p.m. ET (2000 GMT), the Canadian dollar CAD=D4 was trading at C$1.3606 to the greenback, or 73.50 U.S. cents, nearly unchanged, according to Reuters data.

It was a calmer day for the market after big moves earlier in the week, said Andrew Kelvin, senior rates strategist at TD Securities.

The loonie on Wednesday had touched its strongest in nearly three weeks at C$1.3573, as worries that political uncertainty in Washington would undermine the Trump administration’s ability to deliver a promised boost to U.S. growth weighed on the greenback.

But the U.S. dollar .DXY rose on Thursday against a basket of major currencies after stronger-than-expected U.S. economic data put the focus back on a widely anticipated increase in overnight interest rates by the Federal Reserve.

Prices of oil, one of Canada’s major exports, rose ahead of next week’s Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries meeting as key producing countries suggested they would adhere to production cuts to reduce a global crude glut.

U.S. crude oil futures CLc1 settled 28 cents higher at $49.35 a barrel.

The Trump administration set the clock ticking toward a mid-August start of renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico to try to win better terms for U.S. workers and manufacturers.

Canadian government bond prices were mixed as the curve flattened in sympathy with the U.S. yield curve.

“It is exactly the sort of move that you would expect if you were less likely to get (U.S.) tax reform and you still think the Federal Reserve is going to tighten.” Kelvin said.

The 10-year CA10YT=RR note edged up 4 Canadian cents to yield 1.447 percent. The yield had hit its lowest intraday since Nov. 10 at 1.417 percent.

The gap between the 2-year and 10-year yields narrowed 1.7 basis points to a spread of 77.5 basis points as longer-dated bonds outperformed.

Foreign investment in Canadian securities continued in March, driven by purchases of corporate bonds and equities, bringing acquisitions in the first quarter to a record.

Canadian inflation data for April and retail sales data for March are due on Friday.

Reporting by Fergal Smith; Editing by Dan Grebler