CANADA FX DEBT-Loonie closes flat vs US$, firms against euro
* C$ at C$1.0427 vs US$, or 95.90 U.S. cents * Loonie gains against most currencies, especially euro * Canadian bond prices lower across the curve By Leah Schnurr TORONTO, Nov 1 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar was unchanged against the greenback on Friday, consolidating after a recent drop as investors deliberated the probable path of monetary policy in Canada and the United States. Against most other major currencies, the loonie rose, rallying against the euro for a second session as markets speculated the European Central Bank (ECB) would cut interest rates as soon as next week. The Canadian dollar saw some lingering support from data released on Thursday that showed the domestic economy grew at a faster-than-forecast pace in August, helped by expansion in the oil and gas industry. Market focus, however, stayed on the latest moves from central banks. A shift in policy by the Bank of Canada last week knocked the Canadian currency lower, with the central bank dropping its rate-hike bias, which pushed analysts' expectations for an eventual increase in interest rates further into the future. While the GDP data was impressive, "we don't think that will be an obstacle to either easing or tightening," said Michael Woolfolk, senior currency strategist at BNY Mellon in New York. "The Bank (of Canada) is very much aware, as the United States is, that inflation is uncomfortably low and that perhaps further easing could not only stimulate the economy, but could serve to stimulate some healthy inflation." Earlier this week, the U.S. Federal Reserve stood pat on its economic stimulus efforts, though it released a statement that was not as dovish as some had expected. The Canadian dollar ended the North American session at C$1.0427 versus the greenback, or 95.90 U.S. cents, unchanged from Thursday's close. The euro fell sharply against the Canadian dollar as a drop in euro zone inflation sparked expectations the ECB will ease monetary policy. The ECB next meets next Thursday. Against the Canadian dollar, the euro was at C$1.4061, making for a drop of more than 2 percent in two days. "That's getting the euro hit pretty hard," said Benjamin Reitzes, senior economist and foreign exchange strategist at BMO Capital Markets in Toronto. A rate cut is a possibility, though the central bank may also want to wait and get another month of inflation numbers, he said. Canadian government bond prices were lower across the maturity curve. The two-year bond was down 4-1/2 Canadian cents to yield 1.125 percent, and the benchmark 10-year bond slipped 70 Canadian cents to yield 2.509 percent.
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