CANADA FX DEBT-C$ slips to 6-month low as inflation cools
* C$ ends at C$1.0065 versus US$, or 99.35 U.S. cents * C$ finishes week down 1.5 percent * Weakest vs US$ since July, weakest vs euro since Dec 2011 * Tame inflation data cools rate hike expectations By Claire Sibonney TORONTO, Jan 25 (Reuters) - Canada's dollar hit its weakest in six months against the greenback on Friday and lagged most of the major currencies as a limp December inflation report reinforced how little pressure there is on the Bank of Canada to raise interest rates. Canada's annual inflation rate was stuck at a three-year low of 0.8 percent in December, far below the central bank's target and market expectations. "CPI has weakened the loonie, just to add on what the Bank of Canada did earlier in the week, and reinforces the message that the bank really is going nowhere fast and there really shouldn't be any expectations that they're going to move rates higher, definitely not this year," said Benjamin Reitzes, senior economist and foreign exchange strategist at BMO Capital Markets. Most of Canada's primary dealers now expect the Bank of Canada to hold off raising interest rates until 2014. The currency was down 1.5 percent this week, 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. The Canadian dollar ended the North American session at C$1.0065 versus its U.S. counterpart, or 99.35 U.S. cents, down from Thursday's close at C$1.0029, or 99.71 U.S. cents. Earlier, the currency weakened as far as C$1.0101, or 99.00 U.S. cents, its softest level since July 27. Next week, the next piece of important domestic data will be November growth figures due on Thursday. Scotiabank chief currency strategist Camilla Sutton said the Canadian dollar's break through November lows on Friday positions the currency in a weaker range but that it would be difficult to meaningfully 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," she said, which range between C$1.02 and C$1.04. SLIDING VS EURO AS WELL The Canadian currency has fared particularly poorly against the euro since the Bank of Canada news, falling to its weakest in more than a year, as the euro benefits from strong German data and banks paying back a larger chunk of ECB crisis loans than expected. 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. Canadian bond prices eased across the curve as global equities rose but outperformed U.S. Treasuries. The price of a two-year bond, which is especially influenced by near-term interest rate expectations, was off 1 Canadian cent to yield 1.130 percent, while the benchmark 10-year bond fell 44 Canadian cents to yield 1.938 percent.
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