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Canadian dollar gives back much of weekly gain as oil slides

(Adds strategist quote and details throughout; updates prices) * Canadian dollar weakens 0.7% against the greenback * Canadian retail sales jump by 1.3% in November * Price of U.S. oil settles 1.6% lower * Canadian bond yields ease across a flatter curve By Fergal Smith TORONTO, Jan 22 (Reuters) – The Canadian dollar weakened against its U.S. counterpart on Friday, giving back much of this week’s gains, as new pandemic curbs in China weighed on oil prices and data added to evidence of Canada’s economy slowing in December. The loonie was trading 0.7% lower at 1.2718 to the greenback, or 78.63 U.S. cents, pulling back from a near three-year high on Thursday at 1.2590. “The stalled move lower in the USD around the 1.26 level again leaves the CAD in a weak position on the face of it for the week ahead,” FX strategists at Scotiabank, including Shaun Osborne, said in a note. Speculators have cut their bullish bets on the Canadian dollar, data from the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission showed. As of Jan. 19, net long positions had fallen to 10,326 contracts from 12,073 in the prior week. The currency traded in a range of 1.2633 to 1.2740 on Friday. For the week, it was up 0.1% as investors bet on hefty U.S. stimulus from newly inaugurated President Joe Biden and the Bank of Canada opted against cutting interest rates. Canadian retail sales jumped by 1.3% in November, much more than expected, but preliminary figures for December suggest a sharp drop as novel coronavirus restrictions were re-imposed, Statistics Canada said. U.S. crude oil futures settled 1.6% lower at $52.27 a barrel on worries that restrictions in China, the world’s biggest oil importer, to contain a fresh wave of COVID-19 will crimp demand. Oil is one of Canada’s major exports. Global shares slipped off record highs as data showed euro zone economic activity shrinking markedly in January, while Canadian government bond yields were lower across much of a flatter curve. The 10-year fell 2.8 basis points to 0.845%. On Thursday, it posted a 10-month high intraday at 0.892%. (Reporting by Fergal Smith; Editing by Kirsten Donovan and Marguerita Choy)


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