CANADA FX DEBT-C$ strengthens to more than 3-month high; Fed in focus

Mon Apr 27, 2015 4:29pm EDT
 
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(Adds details throughout, strategist comment, closing figures)
    * Canadian dollar at C$1.2101, or 82.64 U.S. cents
    * Bond prices mixed across the maturity curve

    By Solarina Ho
    TORONTO, April 27 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar rallied
against all major currency counterparts on Monday, at one point
touching its strongest level since January against the
greenback, as crude prices clung near 2015 highs and the U.S.
dollar index slid to a three-week low.
    The price of crude, a major Canadian export, gyrated through
a volatile trading session, with the Yemen conflict and falling
U.S. rig counts offsetting the caution surrounding lofty global
supply levels.
    But prices, which have plunged dramatically since last
summer, held close to 2015 highs, with U.S. crude settling at
$56.99 a barrel and lending support to the commodities-linked
Canadian dollar. 
    "It's very quiet and not much in the way of data," said Mark
Chandler, head of Canadian fixed income and currency strategy at
RBC Capital Markets. "Even though we've gotten no fresh moves up
in energy prices, they look like they're stabilizing."
    The Canadian dollar finished trading at C$1.2101 to
the greenback, or 82.64 U.S. cents, stronger than the Bank of
Canada's official close on Friday of C$1.2170, or 82.17 U.S.
cents.
    The loonie hit C$1.2080 at one point, its strongest level
since January 21 when the Bank of Canada stunned markets with an
unexpected 25 basis point interest rate cut.
    The currency had retreated to six-year lows earlier this
year, but began rebounding again earlier this month after the
Bank of Canada offered a more optimistic view of the economy for
the second half of 2015. 
    Lukewarm first quarter U.S. economic data, which has put the
greenback under some pressure, also helped the loonie recently.
    First-quarter U.S. growth numbers are due midweek, just
ahead of the Federal Reserve's monetary policy statement. 
    Both events could drive the U.S. dollar and by extension,
the Canadian dollar, Chandler said. Investors will be looking
for clues on the Fed's view of the economy and when a rate hike
may come.
    Markets will also be eying comments from Bank of Canada
Governor Stephen Poloz and Senior Deputy Governor Carolyn
Wilkins about the economy and the impact of crude prices when
they speak before a House of Commons finance committee on
Tuesday.
    Canadian government bond prices were mixed across the
maturity curve, with longer-term debt falling. The two-year
 price was down 3 Canadian cents to yield 0.647
percent, and the benchmark 10-year slipped 23
Canadian cents to yield 1.466 percent.
    The Canada-U.S. two-year bond spread was 12.7 basis points,
while the 10-year spread was -46.2.

 (Editing by Meredith Mazzilli)