CANADA FX DEBT-C$ ends slightly stronger as housing starts jump
(Adds strategist comment, updates prices to close) * Canadian dollar ends at C$1.3227, or 75.60 U.S. cents * Bond prices mixed across the yield curve By Alastair Sharp TORONTO, Jan 10 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar ended a touch stronger against its U.S. counterpart on Tuesday as a jump in housing starts offset a drop in oil prices and caution as hearings for U.S. President-elect Donald Trump's Cabinet nominees began. Housing starts rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 207,041 units in December from an upwardly revised 187,273 units in November, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp said. Economists polled by Reuters had expected starts to rise to a 195,000 unit pace. The Canadian dollar settled at C$1.3227 to the greenback, or 75.60 U.S. cents, barely stronger than Monday's close of C$1.3230, or 75.59 U.S. cents. The currency's weakest level of the session was C$1.3257, while its strongest was C$1.3192. A dip in the price of oil, one of Canada's major exports, to its lowest in nearly a month on mounting doubts that producing countries would implement of a deal to cut output and caution ahead of Trump's Jan. 20 inauguration tempered any gains by the dollar. "Increased concern about the confirmation process for Trump's cabinet is stirring a risk-off trade around the world right now," said Karl Schamotta, director of FX risk and strategy at Cambridge Global Payments. On Friday, the loonie reached its strongest point in more than three weeks at C$1.3177 following surprisingly strong domestic employment and trade data. Still, foreign exchange strategists expect the loonie to weaken over the coming year, pressured by trade agreement uncertainty and probable monetary policy divergence between the Federal Reserve and the Bank of Canada. Canadian government bond prices were mixed across the yield curve, falling marginally at the short and long ends but rising in the middle. The two-year price slipped half a Canadian cent to yield 0.755 percent, while the five-year added 3 cents to yield 1.092 percent and the 30-year issue slipped 2 cents to yield 2.281 percent. (Additional reporting by Fergal Smith; Editing by Bill Trott and Alan Crosby)
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