CANADA FX DEBT-C$ touches two-week high as oil prices jump
(Adds strategist comment, updates prices to close) * Canadian dollar settles at C$1.3022, or 76.79 U.S. cents * Bond prices higher across maturity curve By Alastair Sharp TORONTO, Aug 4 (Reuters) - The commodity-linked Canadian dollar touched its strongest level against its U.S. counterpart in more than two weeks on Thursday as oil prices bounced, while attention also turned to key economic data due on Friday. The gain came against a broadly stronger greenback as the Bank of England cut interest rates and launched stimulus measures, boosting global stocks and hammering the British pound. "It's a commodity story, and oil in particular is picking up," said Mark Chandler, head of Canadian fixed income and currency strategy at Royal Bank of Canada. Oil prices jumped almost 3 percent, with U.S. crude moving firmly above the $40-per-barrel mark on short-covering and after a modest stockpile drop at the delivery hub for U.S. crude futures. The Canadian dollar ended the day trading at C$1.3022 to the greenback, or 76.79 U.S. cents, stronger than Wednesday's close of C$1.3071, or 76.51 U.S. cents. The currency's strongest level of the session was C$1.2997, the first time it ducked under C$1.30 since July 19, while its weakest was C$1.3089. Canadian government bond prices were higher across the maturity curve. The two-year price firmed 3.5 Canadian cents to yield 0.541 percent and the benchmark 10-year climbed 45 Canadian cents to yield 1.050 percent. The curve flattened as the spread between the two-year and 10-year yields narrowed by 3.1 basis points to 50.9 basis points, indicating outperformance for longer-dated maturities. Traders were braced for U.S. monthly jobs data for July due on Friday, which may shift expectations for U.S. interest rates. Canada's international trade data for June and employment report for July are also to be released on Friday. "If there is another disappointment on the trade front I could see that sending the Canadian dollar weaker," RBC's Chandler said. Canada's trade deficit widened to its second largest on record in May, exceeded only by the revised April number. (Additional reporting by Fergal Smith; Editing by Leslie Adler)
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