CANADA FX DEBT-C$ weakens to 6-month low as inflation cools
* C$ hits C$1.0092 versus US$, or $0.9909 * Weakest vs US$ since July, weakest vs euro since Dec 2011 * Tame inflation data cools rate hike expectations By Alastair Sharp TORONTO, Jan 25 (Reuters) - Canada's dollar hit its weakest level in six months against the U.S. currency on Friday as a limp December inflation report, arriving in the wake of a dovish Bank of Canada statement, pushed rate hike expectations even further into the future. The currency is on track for a 1.5 percent dip this week, the sharpest loss of any major currency versus the U.S. dollar and its worst weekly performance since May, as it shrugs off supportive signs in commodity and equity markets. "The Canadian dollar is not in a very good space at all," said Shaun Osborne, chief currency strategist at TD Securities. Canada's annual inflation rate was stuck at a three-year low of 0.8 percent in December, Statistics Canada data indicated on Friday, far below the central bank's target and market expectations. The reading added further support to the Bank of Canada's Wednesday statement that future rate hikes had been delayed by excess economic capacity, soft inflation and stabilizing household debt. "I don't think it will have quite the influence (on the currency) of the bank's words, but it gives it a further shove down the hill," said Doug Porter, deputy chief economist at BMO Capital Markets. The currency hit C$1.0092 to the greenback, or $0.9909, shortly after the inflation data release, its weakest level since July 27. It trimmed those losses slightly to change hands at C$1.0073, or $0.9928, by 9:24 a.m. (1424 GMT), after closing Thursday's North American session at C$1.0029, or $0.9971. Scotiabank chief currency strategist Camilla Sutton said the break through November lows positions the currency in a weaker range but that it would be difficult to break through C$1.01. "I would suggest it's probably more likely that we see some resistance at the psychological C$1.01 level before we get into some of these summer levels" which range between C$1.02 and C$1.04, she said. ALSO SLIDING VS EURO The Canadian currency has fared particularly poorly against the euro since the Bank of Canada news, losing some 2.6 percent as the single currency benefits from strong German data and banks paying back a larger chunk of ECB crisis loans than expected. One euro can now buy C$1.3555, the Canadian currency's weakest level since December 2011. TD's Osborne also said that recent selling of the Canadian currency was exaggerated, especially given North American equity markets are hitting their highest levels in years and Canadian two-year debt maintains a roughly 90 basis-point spread over its U.S. equivalent. "Those correlations seem to be breaking down at the moment," he said. The price of a two-year bond, which is especially influenced by near-term interest rate expectations, was flat to yield 1.124 percent, while the benchmark 10-year bond fell 35 Canadian cents to yield 1.928 percent.
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