CANADA FX DEBT-C$ weakens as crude oil prices fall, hits 1-week low against A$
* Canadian dollar at C$1.3447, or 74.37 U.S. cents * Falls to a one-week low of C$0.9878 vs Aussie dlr * Bond prices mixed across the maturity curve TORONTO, March 3 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar weakened against its U.S. counterpart on Thursday as lower crude oil prices weighed on the commodity-linked currency, while global purchasing managers' index data supported evidence of weaker growth. Oil prices eased after ballooning U.S. crude inventories and a lack of fresh action from the world's largest producer to temper supply snuffed out some of the bullish sentiment that has built this week. Global business growth slowed last month as services from Asia to Europe reported waning demand and little or no inflationary pressure, suggesting more central bank stimulus may be needed, surveys showed. At 9:40 a.m. EST (1440 GMT), the Canadian dollar was trading at C$1.3447 to the greenback, or 74.37 U.S. cents, weaker than Wednesday's close of C$1.3427, or 74.48 U.S. cents. The currency's strongest level of the session was C$1.3405, while its weakest was C$1.3473. On Tuesday, it touched its strongest since Dec. 7 at C$1.3387 after better-than-expected fourth-quarter growth reduced pressure on the Bank of Canada to cut interest rates. The implied probability of a rate cut this year has fallen to less than 40 percent from around 80 percent last week when Finance Minister Bill Morneau said the government would stick to plans in the March 22 federal budget to stimulate the economy. Still, the currency fell to a one-week low of C$0.9878 against the Australian dollar after data on Wednesday showed Australia's economy in the fourth quarter grew at the fastest pace in almost two years. Canadian government bond prices were little changed across the maturity curve, with the two-year price up 0.5 Canadian cent to yield 0.531 percent and the benchmark 10-year rising 3 Canadian cents to yield 1.246 percent. January trade data is due on Friday. The deficit is forecast to have widened to C$1.10 billion after shrinking sharply the month before. Analysts will be looking to see if the export sector can maintain its momentum, which is key to the Bank of Canada's outlook for the economy. (Reporting by Fergal Smith; Editing by Bernadette Baum)
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