(Adds analyst quote and details on Reuters poll, updates
* Canadian dollar ends at C$1.3144, or 76.08 U.S. cents
* Loonie touches its weakest since Feb. 7 at C$1.3210.
* Bond prices end higher across much of the yield curve
By Fergal Smith
TORONTO, Feb 22 The Canadian dollar hit a
two-week low against its U.S. counterpart on Wednesday,
pressured by lower oil prices and a drop in domestic retail
sales, but pared some losses after Federal Reserve minutes fell
short of a hawkish tone.
Canadian retail sales unexpectedly declined 0.5 percent in
December, the biggest drop in nine months, as consumers bought
fewer new cars and spent less during the holiday shopping
"It's generally soft data," said Andrew Kelvin, senior rates
strategist at TD Securities.
It reinforces the view that the Bank of Canada will not be
following the Federal Reserve with interest rate hikes, he
The chances of a Bank of Canada interest rate hike this year
dipped to 28 percent from more than 30 percent before the retail
sales report, data from the overnight index swaps market showed.
U.S. crude prices settled 74 cents lower at $53.59 a
barrel on expectations of another surge in U.S. inventories.
Oil is one of Canada's major exports.
The greenback turned lower against a basket of major
currencies as investors weighed minutes of the latest Fed
monetary policy meeting.
"The Fed didn't make it sound too urgent that they wanted to
raise rates in March," said Ronald Simpson, managing director,
global currency analysis at Action Economics.
The Canadian dollar ended at C$1.3144 to the
greenback, or 76.08 U.S. cents, slightly weaker than Tuesday's
close of C$1.3138, or 76.12 U.S. cents.
The currency's strongest level of the session was C$1.3109,
while it touched its weakest since Feb. 7 at C$1.3210.
The United States is likely to refrain from suggesting major
changes to its trading arrangement with Canada, according to a
majority of economists polled by Reuters.
Still, the loonie would be among the biggest losers if the
Trump administration implements a border adjustment tax as part
of its effort to crack down on what it sees as unfair
competition from trading partners, analysts say.
Canadian government bond prices were slightly higher across
much of the yield curve in sympathy with U.S. Treasuries after
the Fed struck a cautious tone on raising rates.
The two-year edged up 1.5 Canadian cents to yield
0.781 percent and the 10-year rose 5 Canadian cents
to yield 1.717 percent.
Canada's inflation report for January is due on Friday, with
economists expecting the annual rate to edge up to 1.6 percent.
(Reporting by Fergal Smith; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli and