* Canadian dollar at C$1.3309, or 75.14 U.S. cents
* Bond prices higher across the yield curve
TORONTO, March 17 The Canadian dollar
strengthened on Friday against its U.S. counterpart, helped by
higher oil prices and stronger-than-expected domestic
Canadian manufacturing sales rose for the third straight
month in January as nondurable goods sales increased, led by the
petroleum and coal industry, data from Statistics Canada showed.
The 0.6 percent gain beat expectations for a 0.2 percent
decline, while sales volumes were also solid, rising 0.7
U.S. crude prices were up 0.76 percent at $49.12 a
barrel, as investors weighed the impact of the Organization of
the Petroleum Exporting Countries' production cuts against
rising U.S. shale oil output and persistently high inventories.
Oil is one of Canada's major exports.
At 9:07 a.m. ET (1307 GMT), the Canadian dollar was
trading at C$1.3309 to the greenback, or 75.14 U.S. cents,
stronger than Thursday's close of C$1.3347, or 74.92 U.S. cents.
The currency traded in a range of C$1.3308 to C$1.3346. It
touched on Thursday its strongest in more than two weeks at
The loonie's gains came as the U.S. dollar hit a five-week
low against a basket of currencies .
The greenback was pressured by the Federal Reserve's
cautious interest rate outlook and investor concern over a
potentially protectionist slant to a G20 meeting this weekend.
Canada is committed to keeping the North American Free Trade
Agreement (NAFTA) as a trilateral accord, Canada's trade
minister said, in a sign of support for Mexico as it prepares
for tough negotiations with the new U.S. administration.
About 75 percent of Canadian exports go to the United
States. Its economy could be hurt by renegotiation of NAFTA.
Canadian government bond prices were higher across the yield
curve, with the two-year up 2.5 Canadian cents to
yield 0.805 percent and the 10-year rising 24
Canadian cents to yield 1.776 percent.
The 10-year yield has pulled back from a 20-month high of
1.876 percent reached on Monday.
(Reporting by Fergal Smith Editing by W Simon)