CANADA FX DEBT-C$ weakens slightly with oil ahead of Fed speech
* C$ softens to C$0.9895 vs. US$, or $1.0106 * Little movement ahead of Friday's key Fed speech * Bond prices mixed By Solarina Ho TORONTO, Aug 29 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar weakened against its U.S. counterpart on Wednesday, easing with the price of oil and other commodities, but anticipation of a key speech by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke on Friday kept the currency trading in a tight range. Oil prices slipped as damage from Hurricane Isaac to oil production is expected to be limited and in reaction to data showing a rise in U.S. crude oil stocks. "We're seeing the Canadian dollar holding up relatively well considering that we've seen a decline in oil prices," said Charles St-Arnaud, Canadian economist and currency strategist with Nomura Securities International. The Canadian dollar ended the session at C$0.9895 versus the greenback, or $1.0106, softer than Tuesday's North American session close at C$0.9878 against the U.S. dollar, or $1.0124. The currency retreated from a high of C$0.9843, or $1.0160 reached on Tuesday, which matched the 3-1/2 month high seen last week. St-Arnaud said barring a definitive announcement on quantitative easing by the Fed or strong economic data, the Canadian dollar was not expected to break the C$0.9800 level. Bernanke will speak at a conference of central bankers in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, on Friday and market watchers will be looking for clues on the timing of a possible stimulus move. Bernanke's speech kicks off an eventful few weeks which include an election in the French-speaking province of Quebec, where the separatist party is projected to win a minority government. "Investors who don't understand completely all the subtlety of Quebec politics will probably get scared by the likelihood of a new (separatist) referendum ... I expect actually that we'll see an impact (on the currency)," said St-Arnaud. "The Parti Quebecois won't be elected because suddenly the population in Quebec is in favor of independence. It's more a matter of, after nine years of the Liberals, everybody wants a change." On the crosses, investors continued to favor holding the Canadian dollar over the euro, St-Arnaud said, amid ongoing uncertainties in the euro zone. Traders speculated that news European Central Bank President Mario Draghi was too busy to attend Friday's Jackson Hole meeting meant he could announce a long-awaited plan to bring down Spanish and Italian borrowing costs at the ECB's Sept. 6 policy meeting. "The market may be disappointed by (Draghi) as well but I think we're talking about event risks as they happen and they're going to be fast and furious starting this Friday," said Jack Spitz, managing director of foreign exchange at National Bank Financial. Canadian bond prices were mixed, with the two-year bond up 3 Canadian cents to yield 1.150 percent and the benchmark 10-year bond down 8 Canadian cents to yield 1.806 percent.
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