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Canadian dollar strengthens as oil prices rebound

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 rallied against its broadly weaker U.S. counterpart on Monday as oil prices rose and investors continued to bet on another oversized interest rate hike by the Bank of Canada despite disappointing Canadian jobs data last week.

The price of crude oil, one of Canada's major exports, rebounded from a six-month low it hit on Friday as positive economic data from China and the United States fed hopes for demand.

U.S. crude oil futures settled nearly 2% higher at $90.76 a barrel, while the Canadian dollar was trading 0.5% higher at 1.2860 to the greenback, or 77.76 U.S. cents.

On Friday, the loonie touched its weakest intraday level in more than two weeks at 1.2984 after data showed that Canada's economy shed jobs for a second straight month.

Still, money markets see about a two-thirds chance that the Bank of Canada hikes interest rates by three quarters of a percentage point in September.

"The underlying trend in job growth remains firm and a couple of soft reports will not significantly ease the Bank of Canada's concern about what it has characterized as a 'very, very tight' labour market," strategists at Scotiabank, including Shaun Osborne, said in a note.

The U.S. dollar eased against a basket of major currencies, giving back some of the gains it made following Friday's blockbuster U.S. jobs report, as investors looked ahead to Wednesday's inflation data for more clues about the Federal Reserve's next steps.

Canadian government bond yields fell across much of an inverted yield curve.

The 10-year was down 5.7 basis points at 2.691%, while it dropped an additional 6.2 basis points below the 2-year to a gap of 56.3 basis points.

(Reporting by Fergal Smith; Editing by Alistair Bell and Marguerita Choy)