Canadian dollar hits 2-1/2-month low as uncertain Fed outlook weighs

·2-min read
FILE PHOTO: A Canadian dollar coin, commonly known as the "Loonie", is pictured in this illustration picture taken in Toronto

By Fergal Smith

TORONTO (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar on Wednesday weakened for a third day against its U.S. counterpart, as oil prices fell and investors digested the minutes of the latest Federal Reserve policy meeting.

The loonie was trading 0.1% lower at 1.2477 to the greenback, or 80.15 U.S. cents, after touching its weakest intraday level since April 22 at 1.2519.

In minutes that reflected a divided Fed wrestling with the onset of inflation and financial stability concerns, "various participants" at the June 15-16 meeting felt conditions for reducing the central bank's asset purchases would be "met somewhat earlier than they had anticipated."

With the U.S. central bank shifting last month to more hawkish guidance, investors have been nervous about riskier assets, including commodity-linked currencies like the Canadian dollar.

"There is a lot of noise in the market right now," said Mazen Issa, senior FX strategist at TD Securities. "It just seems to have resonated a little bit more in the Canadian dollar, which has obviously done generally well this year."

The loonie has gained 2% since the start of the year, the best performance among G10 currencies. But it has pulled back from a six-year high last month near 1.20.

Oil, one of Canada's major exports, settled 1.6% lower at $72.20 a barrel as investors feared this week's collapse in OPEC+ talks could mean more supply, not less, is on the way.

Canadian economic activity expanded at a faster pace in June as measures of employment and prices rose, Ivey Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) data showed.

The Canadian jobs report for June is due on Friday, which could help guide expectations for next week's Bank of Canada policy announcement.

Canada's 10-year bond touched its lowest level since Feb. 24 at 1.276% before recovering to 1.297%, down 2 basis points on the day.

(Reporting by Fergal Smith; editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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