CANADA FX DEBT-Canadian dollar strengthens as investors bet on Chinese stimulus

    * Canadian dollar rises 0.2% against the greenback
    * Canada's annual inflation rate rises to 2.4% in January 
    * Price of U.S. oil increases 1.4%
    * Canadian bond yields rise across a steeper yield curve

    By Fergal Smith
    TORONTO, Feb 19 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar strengthened
against its U.S. counterpart on Wednesday as hopes that China
would stimulate its economy raised investor sentiment and
domestic data showed inflation climbed in January.
    At 10:04 a.m. (1504 GMT), the Canadian dollar          was
trading 0.2% higher at 1.3232 to the greenback, or 75.57 U.S.
cents. The currency traded in a range of 1.3216 to 1.3265.
    A decline in the number of new coronavirus cases in China
and mounting expectations for more policy stimulus boosted
global equity markets.             
    Canada is a major exporter of commodities, including oil, so
its economy could benefit from improved prospects for economic
    U.S. crude oil futures        were up 1.4% at $52.79 a
barrel after demand worries eased with a slowing of coronavirus
cases in China and supply was curtailed by a U.S. move to cut
more Venezuelan crude from the market.             
    Canada's annual inflation rate rose to 2.4% in January on
higher gasoline prices, Statistics Canada said. Some analysts
suggested the data may pose a challenge for the Bank of Canada
should it wish to ease rates, although the average of three key
measures of underlying inflation dipped to 2%, the central
bank's target.             
    Chances of an interest rate cut in April fell to less than
40% from nearly 50% before the data, the overnight index swaps
market indicated.                
    Canadian bond yields rose across a steeper yield curve, with
the 10-year yield             up 3.2 basis points at 1.361%.

 (Reporting by Fergal Smith; Editing by David Gregorio)

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