* Canadian dollar at C$1.3512, or 74.01 U.S cents
* Bond prices higher across the yield curve
TORONTO, May 24 The Canadian dollar was little
changed against its U.S. counterpart on Wednesday, holding onto
recent gains ahead of an interest rate decision by the Bank of
Canada and a possible extension of oil production cuts by major
U.S. crude's price dipped 0.19 percent to $51.37 a
barrel as investors waited for news from Vienna, where ministers
from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and
other nations were discussing whether to extend production cuts
into the first quarter of 2018.
Oil is one of Canada's major exports.
The Bank of Canada is widely expected to hold interest rates
at 0.50 percent. They have stood at that level since July 2015,
when the central bank cut them for the second time that year to
offset the impact of plunging oil prices.
Economists say Canada's economy could grow as much as 4
percent in the first quarter after a solid expansion in the
second half of 2016. But the central bank has downplayed the
sustainability of recent stronger-than-expected growth while its
measures of core inflation have remained muted.
The market has largely given up on prospects for a rate hike
this year. Reuters data showed the chances of that have sunk to
12 percent from around one-in-three at the last Bank of Canada
rate announcement in April.
Investors also awaited the minutes from the U.S. Federal
Reserve's last policy meeting, while world stocks inched lower
after China's sovereign credit rating was downgraded.
At 9:13 a.m. ET (1313 GMT), the Canadian dollar was
unchanged at C$1.3512 to the greenback, or 74.01 U.S. cents,
according to Reuters data.
The currency traded in a range of C$1.3492 to C$1.3540.
It has recovered from a 14-month low of C$1.3793 set earlier
this month, helped by a rally in oil prices and broader losses
for the U.S. dollar amid diminishing expectations of a promised
fiscal boost to the U.S. economy from President Donald Trump.
Last Thursday, the loonie touched its strongest in nearly
one month at C$1.3457.
Canadian government bond prices were higher across the yield
curve in sympathy with U.S. Treasuries. The two-year
rose 1 Canadian cent to yield 0.698 percent, and the 10-year
climbed 18 Canadian cents to yield 1.494 percent.
(Reporting by Fergal Smith; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)