CANADA FX DEBT-C$ falls through C$1.15 on cheap oil, U.S. retail data

Thu Dec 11, 2014 4:39pm EST
 
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* Canadian dollar ends at C$1.1527 or 86.75 U.S. cents
    * Bond prices lower across the maturity curve

 (Adds strategist's comment, updates prices to close)
    By Alastair Sharp
    TORONTO, Dec 11 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar weakened to
a fresh five-year low against its U.S. counterpart on Thursday,
weighed down by another drop in the price of crude oil and by
healthy U.S. retail sales, which boosted the greenback.
    U.S. crude futures ended the day below $60 a barrel, also a
five-year low, pressured by signs that already ample supply will
be even more plentiful in 2015. 
    The precipitous fall in crude, a major Canadian export, in
recent weeks is forcing a reassessment of the outlook for the
loonie.
    "Roughly speaking, if we start to think about oil prices
below $50 a barrel for any significant period of time, you're
talking in all likelihood of dollar/Canada getting up to the
C$1.20 to C$1.25 range," said Shaun Osborne, chief currency
strategist at TD Securities.
    He said TD, which had for months been an outlier in
predicting the Canadian currency would fall as low as C$1.15 by
yearend, may now have to adjust its latest forecast, which is
for the currency to trade at C$1.19 to the greenback by the
third quarter of next year.
    The Canadian dollar ended the session at C$1.1527
to the greenback, or 86.75 U.S. cents, weaker than Wednesday's
close of C$1.1480, or 87.11 U.S. cents. That is its weakest
level since mid-2009.
    Meanwhile, U.S. consumer spending advanced at a brisk clip
in November as lower gasoline prices gave the holiday shopping
season a boost, offering the latest sign of underlying momentum
in the U.S. economy. 
    "The (U.S.) dollar is healthy, firmer on the decent retail
sales data, which looks like it's adding up to a solid consumer
performance in Q4," said Adam Cole, global head of foreign
exchange strategy at Royal Bank of Canada. "And then Canada is
being hit specifically on the weakness in oil prices again."
    RBC's Cole also said the outlook for the Canadian currency
will only get worse if crude continues its slide.
    "The lower it goes, the more it matters for Canada and the
Canadian currency," he said.
    Canadian government bond prices were lower across the
maturity curve, with the two-year down 4.5 Canadian
cents to yield 1.019 percent and the benchmark 10-year
 down 10 Canadian cents to yield 1.829 percent.

 (Reporting by Alastair Sharp; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli and
Peter Galloway)