* Canadian dollar at C$1.3100, or 76.34 U.S. cents
* Loonie touches its strongest since Monday at C$1.3083
* Bond prices move higher
TORONTO, Feb 23 The Canadian dollar strengthened
against its U.S. counterpart on Thursday as prices of oil, one
of Canada's major exports, climbed and the greenback retreated
against a basket of major currencies.
Gains for the loonie came as U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven
Mnuchin said that he does not see any changes to the North
American Free Trade Agreement in the short-term.
Canada sends 75 percent of its exports to the United States
and could suffer badly if U.S. President Donald Trump follows
through on promises to renegotiate NAFTA.
U.S. crude prices were up 1.98 percent at $54.65 a
barrel after U.S. data showed a surprise decline in inventories,
suggesting that a global glut may be ending after moves by OPEC
to cut production.
The U.S. dollar was pressured by the lack of progress
towards a near-term rise in interest rates or tax reforms and
public spending that investors hope will reflate the U.S.
At 9:28 a.m. ET (1428 GMT), the Canadian dollar was
trading at C$1.3100 to the greenback, or 76.34 U.S. cents,
stronger than Wednesday's close of C$1.3144, or 76.08 U.S.
The currency's weakest level of the session was C$1.3169,
while it touched its strongest since Monday at C$1.3083.
Canadian average weekly earnings of non-farm payroll
employees rose 1.0% in December, while the number of non-farm
payroll employees increased by 39,200 for the same month, data
from Statistics Canada showed.
Canadian government bonds prices moved higher in sympathy
with U.S. Treasuries, with the 10-year rising 29
Canadian cents to yield 1.681 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 Nick Zieminski)