CANADA FX DEBT-C$ notches first weekly gain since Oct

Thu Dec 24, 2015 3:51pm EST
 
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(Adds analyst comment, updates prices)
    * Canadian dollar settles at C$1.3845, or 72.23 U.S. cents
    * Bond prices higher across the maturity curve

    By Alastair Sharp
    TORONTO, Dec 24 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar strengthened
slightly against a broadly weaker U.S. dollar on Thursday,
notching its first weekly advance since October as oil added to
recent gains.
    With volumes expected to be light for the rest of the year,
momentum could help the loonie strengthen further before fresh
data offers further economic clues in the new year. 
    The currency has been buffeted all year by stubbornly low
prices for oil, a major Canadian export, prompting the Bank of
Canada to cut rates twice earlier in the year.
    With the domestic economy struggling to regain momentum
after emerging from a mild recession, the prospect of further
easing will become a more common topic of discussion. 
    "If the data tails off, why not cut again? Inflation isn't a
problem," said Adam Button, currency analyst at ForexLive in
Montreal. 
    "The balancing act in 2016 is understanding how much weight
to put on economic data and how much to put on oil," he said,
pointing out that the currency was a top performer on Wednesday
despite weak GDP data as oil prices rose. 
    The Canadian dollar ended at C$1.3845 to the
greenback, or 72.23 U.S. cents, stronger than Wednesday's
official close of C$1.3857, or 72.17 U.S. cents.
    It traded in a tight range in the last session before
Christmas, with its strongest level at C$1.3814 and its weakest
at C$1.3873. The currency underperformed most of its other key
currency counterparts.
    U.S. oil prices rose above $38 a barrel but remained within
sight of an 11-year low reached earlier this week, as signs of a
tighter U.S. market raised hopes a supply glut would ease. 
    Canadian government bond prices were higher across the
maturity curve, with the two-year price up 4 Canadian
cents to yield 0.487 percent and the benchmark 10-year
 rising 34 Canadian cents to yield 1.379 percent.

 (Editing by Bernadette Baum and Bill Trott)