The Canadian dollar edged lower against its U.S. counterpart on Friday as domestic data showing the first retail sales gain in three months failed to impress investors.
Canadian retail sales rose 0.4 per cent in July from June on stronger sales of new cars at motor vehicle and parts dealers, Statistics Canada said. The increase was less than the 0.6 per cent gain that analysts expected, while sales volumes saw no growth.
Canadians have high debt loads and depleted savings, which could crimp their spending for as long as decades, economists say.
“I didn’t think the reading was that compelling for Canada,” said Amo Sahota, director at Klarity FX in San Francisco. “It maybe just nudged a little more weakness in the Bank of Canada outlook but not enough to move interest rate probabilities.”
Money markets see about a 30 per cent chance that the Bank of Canada would cut interest rates by the end of the year. The central bank has stayed on hold so far in 2019 even as some of its global peers, including the U.S. Federal Reserve, have eased.
At 3:59 p.m., the Canadian dollar was trading 0.1 per cent lower at 1.3273 to the greenback, or 75.34 U.S. cents. The currency, which touched on Wednesday a two-week low intraday at 1.3310, traded in a range of 1.3255 to 1.3300.
For the week, the loonie was up 0.1 per cent.
The price of oil, one of Canada’s major exports, eased on renewed concern over the U.S.-China trade war, but still posted weekly gains after an attack on Saudi Arabia’s energy industry last weekend. U.S. crude oil futures settled 0.1 per cent lower at $58.09 a barrel.
Speculators have raised their bullish bets on the Canadian dollar to the highest in six weeks, data from the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission and Reuters calculations showed. As of Sept. 17, net long positions had increased to 19,823 contracts from 11,523 in the prior week.
Canadian government bond prices were higher across a flatter yield curve in sympathy with U.S. Treasuries. The two-year rose 5 cents to yield 1.574 per cent and the 10-year was up 47 cents to yield 1.387 per cent.
That was the lowest yield for the 10-year bond since Sept. 12.
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