September 12, 2018 / 7:21 PM / 2 months ago

CANADA FX DEBT-C$ nears 2-week high on NAFTA trade optimism, higher oil prices

 (Adds strategist quotes, details throughout on activity;
updates prices)
    * Canadian dollar at C$1.2991, or 76.98 U.S. cents
    * Loonie touches its strongest since Aug. 31 at C$1.2981    
    * Price of U.S. oil rises 1.6 percent
    * Bond prices edge higher across the yield curve

    By Fergal Smith
    TORONTO, Sept 12 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar
strengthened to a near-two-week high against its U.S.
counterpart on Wednesday, boosted by higher oil prices and
optimism that a deal with the United States to renew the NAFTA
trade pact would be reached.
    At 3:05 p.m. (1905 GMT), the Canadian dollar          was
trading 0.6 percent higher at C$1.2991 to the greenback, or
76.98 U.S. cents.
    The currency, which has advanced 1.3 percent so far this
week, touched its strongest since Aug. 31 at C$1.2981.
    The Canadian dollar is "strong," said Ronald Simpson,
managing director, global currency analysis at Action Economics.
"Its all on trade and oil ... probably more on trade."
    Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland is planning to
return to Washington to hold more talks on the North American
Free Trade Agreement on Thursday but plenty of work remains
before the two sides can strike a deal, a well-placed Canadian
source said.             
    "It seems to be overall that a deal is going to get done at
some point ... if there is an agreement in principle I think we
can probably see U.S.-CAD go to probably around (C$)1.25,"
Simpson said.
    Canada sends about 75 percent of its exports to the United
States, including autos and oil, so a deal could remove a
headwind for the country's economy.
    The price of oil climbed for a second straight day after a
larger-than-expected drop in U.S. crude inventories and as U.S.
sanctions on Iran added to concerns over global oil supply.
    U.S. crude oil futures        settled 1.6 percent higher at
$70.37 a barrel.
    Gains for the loonie came as the U.S. dollar        lost
ground against the euro in advance of the European Central Bank
meeting, while traders remained worried about the trade friction
between the United States and China.                 
    Canada runs a current account deficit, so its economy could
be hurt if the global flow of trade or capital slows.
    Canadian industries ran at 85.5 percent of capacity in the
second quarter, up from a downwardly revised 83.7 percent in the
first quarter, Statistics Canada said. Economists surveyed by
Reuters had forecast a rate of 86.9 percent.             
    Canadian government bond prices were higher across the yield
curve in sympathy with U.S. Treasuries. The 10-year            
rose 8 Canadian cents to yield 2.329 percent.
    On Tuesday, the 10-year yield touched its highest intraday
in more than one month at 2.340 percent.

 (Reporting by Fergal Smith; Editing by Steve Orlofsky and
Bernadette Baum)
  
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