Canada Markets open in 7 hrs 20 mins

Loonie firms ahead of speech by Bank of Canada official

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

TORONTO (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar edged higher against its U.S. counterpart on Monday, paring some of last week's decline ahead of a speech by a Bank of Canada official and as investors awaited a Federal Reserve policy meeting later in the week.

Bank of Canada deputy governor Lawrence Schembri will speak about renewing the central bank's inflation target. The central bank, which will publish Schembri's prepared remarks at 14:30 ET (1830 GMT), said last month there was evidence that a slowdown in the domestic economy was temporary, signaling it would remain on the sidelines as it monitors economic developments.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Federal Reserve, facing fresh demands by President Donald Trump to cut interest rates, is expected to leave borrowing costs unchanged at an interest rate decision on Wednesday but possibly lay the groundwork for a rate cut later this year.

At 10:09 a.m. (1409 GMT), the Canadian dollar was trading 0.1% higher at 1.3403 to the greenback, or 74.61 U.S. cents.

The currency, which fell 1.1% last week, traded in a narrow range of 1.3401 to 1.3419. On Friday, the loonie touched its weakest in more than one week at 1.3424.

Foreign investors sold a net C$12.80 billion in Canadian securities in April, led by equities, following a revised C$1.56 billion total divestment in March, Statistics Canada said on Monday.

Still, data from the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission and Reuters calculations showed on Friday that speculators have cut their bearish bets on the Canadian dollar to the lowest since December. As of June 11, net short positions had fallen to 32,840 contracts from 41,759 in the prior week.

The price of oil, one of Canada's major exports, slipped on Monday as signs of an economic slowdown amid international trade disputes began to outweigh supply fears. U.S. crude oil futures were down 0.6% at $52.22 a barrel.

Canada looks set to approve a hotly-debated plan to expand an oil pipeline this week, people familiar with the process told Reuters, but the move is unlikely to help Prime Minister Justin Trudeau rebuild flagging support ahead of an October election.

Canadian government bond prices were lower across much of the yield curve, with the two-year down 1.5 Canadian cents to yield 1.390% and the 10-year falling 8 Canadian cents to yield 1.444%.

Canada's inflation report for May is due on Wednesday.


(Reporting by Fergal Smith; Editing by Susan Thomas)