CANADA FX DEBT-C$ firms on stronger U.S., China data

Mon Apr 2, 2012 11:06am EDT
 
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* C$ at $0.9945 vs US$, or $1.055
    * U.S., China PMI data boosts sentiment
    * Euro zone manufacturing data weighs
    * Investors look to Bank of Canada speech for clues
    * Bond prices mostly higher

    By Jon Cook	
    TORONTO, April 2 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar
strengthened against its U.S. counterpart on Monday after upbeat
manufacturing data from the U.S. and China showed the world's
top two economies continued to expand and helped offset fears
about further slowing in Europe.	
    Commodity-linked currencies were boosted after data on
Sunday showed China's official Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI)
jumped to an 11-month high in March, beating forecasts.
 	
    On Monday, sentiment was further strengthened by data that
revealed U.S. manufacturing activity in March rose to 53.4 from
52.4 in February, topping economists' expectations of 53.0. A
reading above 50 indicates expansion, while a number below 50
means contraction. 	
    "We started out with a bit of a cautious start and when we
saw that (U.S.) number things turned around," said Steve Butler,
a director of foreign exchange trading at Scotia Capital. "All
that is pretty positive for Canada in the short term."	
    The Canadian dollar firmed to a session high at C$0.9935
against the U.S. currency, or $1.0065, after the U.S. data. It
was at C$0.9977 shortly before the data was released.	
    At 10:45 a.m. (1445 GMT), the Canadian dollar stood at
C$0.9945 against the U.S. dollar, or $1.0054, up from Friday's
close at C$0.9975 versus the greenback, or $1.0025.	
    Investors were expected to take further direction from a
speech and press conference on Monday by Bank of Canada Governor
Mark Carney. The central bank chief is speaking on exporting in
a post-crisis world and could discuss the outlook for growth and
the central bank's latest view on the strong currency. 	
    A recent reduction in China's growth target and softening
U.S. data had taken some of the shine off commodities and
weakened the Canadian dollar.	
    Canada's manufacturing sector also accelerated to its
fastest rate of the year in March, showed the RBC Canadian
Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index, released on Monday.
 	
    Oil, gold and copper prices rose with the news.  
 	
    Helping pare gains, was soft euro zone manufacturing data
that continued to signal a grim outlook for the region. Also
weighing on sentiment was separate U.S. data that showed U.S.
construction spending in February recorded its largest drop in
seven months.  	
    "Regardless of the Chinese numbers, the overall mood today
is not all that constructive," said Shaun Osborne, chief
currency strategist at TD Securities.	
    "Since January, we've essentially been stuck in this range
around parity and that's not going to change anytime soon," said
Osborne.	
    Canadian bond prices were mostly higher. The 2-year bond
 was up 2 Canadian cents to yield 1.186 percent, while
the 10-year bond rose 9 Canadian cents to yield
2.101 percent.