Canadian dollar dips as inflation miss supports BoC's easing stance

FILE PHOTO: Jordanian Dinar, Yuan, Dollar, Canadian Dollar, Pound and Riyals banknotes are seen in this picture illustration taken June 13, 2017. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

TORONTO (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar weakened against its U.S. counterpart on Wednesday as oil prices fell and as domestic data showing a surprise annual decline in the consumer price index supported expectations for continued low interest rates.

Canada’s annual inflation rate fell by 0.4% in May, negative for the second month in row, as the COVID-19 pandemic pushed gasoline prices lower year-over-year, Statistics Canada said. Analysts had forecast a flat rate in May.

“Tame total and core CPI growth remain supportive of the BoC’s all-in policy stance,” said Ryan Brecht, a senior economist at Action Economics.

Tiff Macklem, in his first public appearance as governor of the Bank of Canada, said on Tuesday the bank remained focused on using its policy tools, including low interest rates, to support the Canadian economy’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Canadian dollar was trading 0.2% lower at 1.3573 to the greenback, or 73.68 U.S. cents. The currency, which has recovered from a two-week low on Monday at 1.3685, traded in a range of 1.3512 to 1.3593.

Canada risks slowing the pace of economic recovery as it largely leans on repayable loans to help companies ride out the coronavirus crisis, rather than grant programs that are favored by the United States, economists say.

The Canadian government will unveil a “fiscal and economic snapshot” on July 8 to show much money it has spent combating the coronavirus outbreak, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said.

The price of oil, one of Canada’s major exports, was pressured by concerns over fuel demand due to fresh outbreaks of COVID-19. U.S. crude oil futures settled 1.1% lower at $37.96 a barrel.

Canadian government bond yields were mixed across a flatter curve, with the 10-year down 1.2 basis points at 0.538%. On Monday, the 10-year yield hit a one-month low at 0.468%.

Reporting by Fergal Smith; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Peter Cooney