CANADA FX DEBT-Canada dollar nears 2-week low vs US$ on Europe
* C$ lower at C$1.0219 vs US$, or 97.86 U.S. cents * Retail sales weaker than expected; ex-autos stronger * Global stocks lower on worries about Spain, Greece * Bond prices mostly higher across the curve By Jennifer Kwan TORONTO, July 24 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar sank to a near two-week low against its U.S. counterpart on Tuesday as investors focused on soaring Spanish bond yields and uncertainty around Greece's membership in the euro zone. Spanish yields climbed above 7.6 percent on its 10-year bond , reflecting a growing belief that the country will need a bailout that the euro zone can barely afford. Meantime, EU officials said Greece had little hope of meeting the terms of its bailout, casting fresh doubt on its future in the euro zone. "I would say Spain is really what matters because Greece is relatively small. It's mainly Spain because it has a lot of ties to other countries. In terms of size, it's the fourth-biggest economy in the euro area," said Charles St-Arnaud, economist and currency strategist at Nomura in New York. "Any signs it could leave or need a bailout is more important." At around 2:45 p.m. (1845 GMT), the Canadian dollar was at C$1.0219 versus its U.S. counterpart, or 97.86 U.S. cents. It hit a low of C$1.0226, its weakest since July 12. On Monday, the currency finished at C$1.0168 to the greenback, or 98.35 U.S. cents. Worries about the instability in the euro zone overshadowed a domestic retail sales report with some bright spots. Canadian retail sales rose by a weaker-than-expected 0.3 percent in May, but a healthy jump in sales volume and heavy shopping for food, beverages and clothing ignited hopes that consumers would help keep the economy out of the doldrums. "It was a decent number for Canada but in the grand scheme of things it's going to get lost in translation," John Curran, senior vice president at CanadianForex, said of the retail sales data. "It's a positive number. But any good news that stems from that will eventually be negated by the European situation." ALREADY WEAKER The currency had already been pressured earlier in the session by data that showed the private sector across the whole 17-nation euro area shrank for a sixth straight month in July, mainly due to weakness in manufacturing, putting the region on track to fall back into recession. The slowdown in German industrial activity was the biggest surprise for market analysts, contracting in July at its fastest pace in three years. The European situation also overshadowed data that showed China's manufacturing output in July grew at its fastest pace in nine months, easing fears of a sharp slowdown in the world's No. 2 economy. "It's a bit of good news after some disappointing numbers out of China but one number doesn't a trend make, so I think the market is more clearly focused on Europe at this point and concerns over spreads and everything else that's going on there," said Matt Perrier, director of foreign exchange sales at BMO Capital Markets. Canadian bond prices were mostly higher with the benchmark 10-year bond up 6 Canadian cents to yield 1.577 percent, while the 30-year bond was up 11 Canadian cents at 2.201 percent.
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