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CANADA FX DEBT-Canadian dollar steadies as oil pullback loses some steam

    * Canadian dollar trades in a range of 1.2473 to 1.2534
    * Price of U.S. oil was little changed at $61.40 a barrel
    * Canadian bond yields ease across a flatter curve

    TORONTO, March 22 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar was little
changed against its U.S. counterpart on Monday as oil, one of
Canada's major exports, steadied and ahead of a speech on
Tuesday by a senior Bank of Canada official.
    U.S. crude        prices were little changed at $61.40 a
barrel after a broad sell-off last week when new European
coronavirus lockdowns dimmed hopes for a quick economic
recovery.             
    The Canadian dollar        was trading nearly unchanged at
1.2495 to the greenback, or 80.03 U.S. cents, having traded in a
range of 1.2473 to 1.2534. Last Thursday, the loonie touched a
three-year high at 1.2361.    
    Speculators have cut their bullish bets on the Canadian
dollar for the second straight week, data from the U.S.
Commodity Futures Trading Commission showed on Friday. As of
March 16, net long positions had decreased to 10,263 contracts
from 10,981 in the prior week.    
    Bank of Canada Deputy Governor Toni Gravelle will speak on
Tuesday on the role of the central bank in responding to
market-wide stress, which could offer clues on the policy
outlook.
    The BoC is likely to reduce its bond purchases as soon as
next month, strategists say, which would provide the clearest
signal yet that Canada's economy requires less help to emerge
from the coronavirus crisis.             
    Data on Friday showed retail sales falling less than
expected in January, while sales were estimated to rebound 4% in
February.             
    Canadian government bond yields were lower across a flatter
curve in tandem with U.S. Treasuries. The 10-year            
fell 4.1 basis points to 1.547%, extending its pullback from a
14-month high on Thursday at 1.677%.
    Canada's No. 2 railroad operator agreed on Sunday to acquire
Kansas City Southern         in a $25 billion cash-and-stock
deal to create the first railway spanning the United States,
Mexico and Canada.             

 (Reporting by Fergal Smith; Editing by Nick Zieminski)
  
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