CANADA FX DEBT-C$ firms to two-month high after Fed stimulus plan

Thu Dec 13, 2012 9:53am EST
 
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* C$ at C$0.9829 vs US$ or $1.0174
    * Touches highest level since Oct 18, at C$0.9825, or
$1.0178
    * C$ outperfoms most major currencies, hits 17-mth high vs
yen
    * Bond prices mostly fall across curve

    By Solarina Ho
    TORONTO, Dec 13 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar touched its
strongest level against its U.S. counterpart in two months on
Thursday, extending Wednesday's gains following the U.S. Federal
Reserve's plan to ease monetary policy further.
    The Fed mostly met market expectations by saying it would
keep buying $45 billion of government bonds each month after its
"Operation Twist" program expires, in addition to buying $40
billion a month in agency mortgage-backed securities.
 
    "What we're seeing is the continued follow-through to what
we saw yesterday. What the Fed's doing is clearly not U.S.
dollar-friendly and I think that's translating by default into
Canadian dollar strength," said Michael Gregory, senior
economist at BMO Capital Markets.
    At 9:13 a.m. (1413 GMT), the Canadian dollar was trading at
C$0.9829 versus the U.S. dollar, or $1.0174, stronger than
Wednesday's North American session finish of C$0.9847, or
$1.0155.
    Earlier in the session, the currency touched its strongest
level since Oct. 18, trading at C$0.9825, or $1.0178.
    "Right now, I think you have to believe the Canadian dollar
will trend a little bit stronger as the market continues to
digest what transpired yesterday, but I think eventually it will
run out of steam," said Gregory.
    Canada's dollar mostly outperformed other major currencies,
including the Japanese yen, where it touched its strongest level
against the yen since July 8, 2011.
    A Royal Bank of Canada research note expected the currency
to trade between C$0.9815 and C$0.9855 on Thursday.
    The Canadian dollar held on to gains following a slew of
North American data, including rising new home prices and record
high personal debt in Canada. 
 
    In the United States, retail sales rose in November in a
sign that steady job creation is adding momentum to consumer
spending. Producer prices fell more than
expected, according to a government report that showed little
inflation pressures in the economy. 
    Fewer Americans filing new unemployment benefit claims last
week indicated a steady healing in the labor market.
 
    Going forward, uncertainty over whether U.S. lawmakers can
come to an agreement to resolve the U.S. fiscal crisis will
remain a key risk.
    "Very near term ... the Canadian dollar is vulnerable to
continued worries on the fiscal cliff front. So we could see a
temporary reprieve where investors get a little bit worried
about the situation, a little bit of uncertainty about how the
U.S. economy is going to start 2013," said Gregory.
    Canadian government debt prices were lower across the curve,
tracking U.S. Treasuries, where yields rose after Wednesday's
Fed statement.
    The two-year bond was off 2.5 Canadian cents to
yield 1.106 percent, while the benchmark 10-year bond
 fell 20 Canadian cents to yield 1.781 percent.