CANADA FX-C$ slips ahead of BoC rate announcement
* C$ at C$0.9997 vs US$, or $1.0003 * Market expects "more hawkish" BoC statement * Bond prices lower across the curve By Jennifer Kwan TORONTO, April 16 (Reuters) - Canada's dollar was little changed against the U.S. currency on Monday, largely shrugging off strong domestic and U.S. economic data ahead of the Bank of Canada's rate announcement on Tuesday. The currency failed to follow the broader trend in U.S. equities, which were supported by data that showed U.S. retail sales in March rose more than expected and suggested that economic growth was not as weak as many feared. As well, the currency appeared to shrug off domestic data that showed foreign investors resumed their purchases of Canadian securities in February after a brief sell-off in January. The Canadian dollar was unable to sustain any moves higher and did not follow the typical trading patterns given Monday's strong euro and weak U.S. dollar, said Camilla Sutton, chief currency strategist at Scotia Capital. "It suggests that it was probably some flows going through the Canadian dollar that forced it to weaken," said Sutton. Global markets were also kept under pressure by broader investor concerns about a rise in Spanish borrowing costs, which raised fresh worries about the euro zone's economic outlook. The Canadian dollar finished the session at C$0.9997 versus the U.S. dollar, or $1.0003, down a bit from Friday's North American close at C$0.9984 versus the U.S. dollar, or $1.0016. Sutton said the market focus was squarely on Canada's central bank announcement on Tuesday. The Bank of Canada looks set to keep interest rates steady, but will likely keep with the more hawkish tone it has adopted in the past month and may even add an explicit mention of eventual rate increases. The central bank has frozen its overnight lending target at an extremely low 1 percent for 19 months and is seen standing pat until the second quarter of 2013, according to the median forecast in a Reuters poll of 40 analysts. "Most of the market is expecting a slight shift to a more hawkish tone," said Sutton. "I would be surprised if we don't hear the statement sounding more hawkish. Technically things have improved and so I would expect to hear that reflected. The risk is that it's very similar to the last statement and that that's a disappointment to markets, and we see the Canadian dollar weaken." Canadian government bond prices sank across the curve, with Canada's two-year bond down 6 Canadian cents to yield 1.229 percent. The 10-year bond fell 16 Canadian cents to yield 2.005 percent.
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