March 13, 2012 / 7:13 PM / 5 years ago

C$ climbs on supportive economic outlook

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's dollar climbed against the greenback in narrow and choppy trade on Tuesday after the Federal Reserve acknowledged recent signs of strength in the U.S. economy.

The Fed provided few clues on the prospects for further monetary easing in its policy statement, but offered a slight upgrade to its economic outlook while restating concerns about the high level of unemployment.

Reaction to the statement was wobbly, with no new signals for stimulus initially interpreted as U.S.-dollar positive, and negative for the Canadian dollar, which briefly touched a session low.

"I think that the market response is limited by the very nature of the Fed statement that brought forward limited changes," said Stewart Hall, senior currency strategist at RBC Capital Markets.

"I think expectations were already set pretty low going into this meeting, given the fact that there was no follow-up press conference and the expectation being for a more fulsome explanation of Fed sentiment coming in April."

Appetite for riskier assets such as stocks and commodities was already fueled by data showing that U.S. retail sales in February marked their biggest gains five months and German economic sentiment had risen more than expected.

The Canadian dollar ended the North American session at C$0.9892 versus the U.S. dollar, or $1.0109, up from Monday's close at C$0.9927 versus the U.S. dollar, or $1.0074.

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World currencies vs. the U.S. dollar:

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Canada's currency also outperformed on the crosses, trading around year-to-date highs against the euro and Australian dollar, and a six-month peak against the British pound.

"Much of the outperformance has been on the back of an improvement in the outlook for the U.S. economy," Camilla Sutton, chief currency strategist at Scotia Capital, said in a note to clients. She pointed out a stronger Mexican peso also gaining as a North American play.

RBC sees medium-term support for the U.S. dollar versus Canada's around C$0.9843 and resistance at C$1.0051.

Canadian bond prices were lower across the curve, tracking U.S. Treasuries higher after the Fed statement eroded some of the allure of safe-haven government debt. <US/>

The two-year bond was down 6 Canadian cents to yield 1.203 percent, while the 10-year bond knocked off 52 Canadian cents to yield 2.058 percent.

Reporting by Claire Sibonney; editing by Rob Wilson

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