3 Min Read
* C$ at C$1.0384 vs US$, or 96.30 U.S. cents * Change in Bank of Canada's language undermines loonie * Worries of tighter money in China had set negative tone * Canadian bond prices higher, outperform Treasuries By Leah Schnurr TORONTO, Oct 23 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar fell nearly a cent to a one-week low against the U.S. dollar on Wednesday after a shift in policy gears by the Bank of Canada pushed the prospect of a hike in interest rates further down the line. Highlighting weaker-than-expected growth and inflation, the Bank of Canada dropped any mention of eventual rate increases from its latest policy statement after more than a year of warning that rates will one day have to rise. The surprise removal of the central bank's so-called tightening bias yanked the loonie to a session low of C$1.0397. The bank also held interest rates at 1 percent, where they have been since 2010. "An earlier rate hike is definitely not in the cards," said Darcy Briggs, portfolio manager at Franklin Bissett Investment Management in Calgary. "With the Bank acknowledging that the handoff from domestic consumption as the main driver of economic growth to exports and investment has proven rather elusive and difficult to achieve ... currency markets have become a little bit more aware that some of the shine has come off of Canada." The Canadian dollar ended the North American session at C$1.0384 versus the greenback, or 96.30 U.S. cents, weaker than Tuesday's close of C$1.0289, or 97.19 U.S. cents. A Reuters poll published last week showed forecasters expected the Bank of Canada's next interest rate move would be an increase in the fourth quarter of 2014. But overnight index swaps, which trade based on expectations for the central bank's policy rate, showed that after the bank's latest statement, traders slashed bets that rates will rise late next year and priced in a small chance of a cut before then. "A move wasn't viewed as imminent, but that policy statement pushes out any expectation of any rate hikes further into the future, and that weighs on the Canadian dollar," said Paul Ferley, assistant chief economist at Royal Bank Of Canada. Canadian government bond prices, already stronger overnight, climbed further on the news and outperformed U.S. Treasuries. The two-year bond was up 12 Canadian cents to yield 1.108 percent and the benchmark 10-year bond gained 44 Canadian cents to yield 2.428 percent. The loonie had already taken on a negative tone early in the session on worries over tighter monetary conditions in China. China's primary short-term money rates rose after a policy adviser to the People's Bank of China said on Tuesday that the central bank may tighten cash conditions in the financial system to address inflation risks. Investors are worried tightening could hamper growth in China, the world's second-largest economy and a major consumer of commodities.