Canadian dollar rallies on higher oil prices, U.S. stimulus hopes

By Fergal Smith

TORONTO (Reuters) – The Canadian dollar rose to a more-than two-week high against the greenback on Thursday as higher oil prices and the potential for U.S. stimulus offset comments from Bank of Canada Governor Tiff Macklem, leaving negative interest rates on the table.

U.S. stocks climbed as President Donald Trump fueled hopes of fresh fiscal aid, while the price of oil, one of Canada’s major exports settled 3.1% higher at $41.19 a barrel on support from output shutdowns ahead of a storm in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico.

“The market is coming to terms with an era of easy money from central banks and governments and it’s undoubtedly beneficial to a commodity exporter,” such as Canada, said Adam Button, chief currency analyst at ForexLive.

“Hopes for American stimulus and the rise in oil prices has overshadowed Macklem’s cryptic comment on negative rates,” Button added.

The Bank of Canada is not actively discussing negative interest rates but they are a tool the bank could use in case it needs to do more to tackle economic challenges caused by the coronavirus outbreak, Governor Tiff Macklem said. “Never say never,” he said.

The Canadian dollar <CAD=> was trading 0.4% higher at 1.3201 to the greenback, or 75.75 U.S. cents. The currency touched its strongest intraday level since Sept. 21 at 1.3198.

Canadian housing starts fell by more than expected in September, tumbling 20% to 208,980 units from a revised 261,547 units in August, data from the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation showed.

Canada’s jobs report for September is due on Friday.

Canadian government bond yields eased across much of the curve in sympathy with U.S. Treasuries on Thursday. The 10-year <CA10YT=RR> fell 1.2 basis points to 0.612%, pulling back from an earlier five-week high at 0.639%.

(Reporting by Fergal Smith; Editing by Steve Orlofsky and Alistair Bell)

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