Canadian dollar slides as U.S.-China tensions weigh on oil prices

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(Reuters) – The Canadian dollar weakened against its U.S. counterpart on Friday as oil prices fell and domestic data showed a record decline in retail sales, with the loonie giving back some of this week’s rally.

At 9:09 a.m. (1309 GMT), the Canadian dollar was trading 0.5% lower at 1.4025 to the greenback, or 71.30 U.S. cents. The currency, which was on track to rise 0.4% for the week, traded in a range of 1.3945 to 1.4039.

The price of oil, one of Canada’s major exports, fell as tensions rose between the United States and China, and doubts grew about the pace of demand recovery from the coronavirus crisis. U.S. crude prices were down 2.7% at $33 a barrel.

Canadian retail sales fell by 10% in March from February as the economy started feeling the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, while the advance results for April indicate a near 16% decline, Statistics Canada said.

Ottawa is rolling out more than C$300 billion in fiscal measures to support Canada’s economy, while the Bank of Canada has slashed interest rates to near zero and begun its first ever large-scale bond-buying program.

On Thursday, Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz said he felt Canada was still on track to meet the best-case scenario for recovery that the central bank released in April, where growth shrinks by 15% in the second quarter compared with the fourth quarter of 2019.

Canadian government bond yields were mixed across a flatter curve, with the 10-year yield down 2.4 basis points at 0.524%.

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