CANADA FX DEBT-C$ weakens to 4-week low on China trade data, lower oil prices

Mon May 9, 2016 5:11pm EDT
 
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* Canadian dollar at C$1.2963, or 77.14 U.S. cents
    * Bond prices higher across the maturity curve

 (Adds details, quotes, updates prices)
    TORONTO/OTTAWA, May 9 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar
weakened to a more than four-week low against the greenback on
Monday as China's trade data disappointed and oil prices turned
lower.
    The loonie has fallen 4 percent from a 10-month high last
week after weaker-than-expected domestic trade data and
wildfire-driven oil production cuts in Alberta's oil sands
region hurt Canada's economic outlook. 
    Economists say second-quarter growth may slow to a
standstill, leaving the central bank on hold. 
    Investors have also been recalibrating their economic
forecasts following last week's disappointing trade data.
Strengthening exports are key to the Bank of Canada's outlook.
    "It was really the trade data that in our view started to
reshape expectations," said David Tulk, chief Canada macro
strategist at TD Securities.
    After the pessimism at the start of the year, sentiment had
arguably swung to being too optimistic, said Tulk.
    Speculators have increased bullish bets on the Canadian
dollar, Commodity Futures Trading Commission data showed on
Friday. Net long Canadian dollar positions rose to 18,943
contracts in the week ended May 3 from 11,999 the prior week.
 
    However, some strategists have turned bearish on the loonie
after technical support for the currency weakened last week.
    "The time is ripe for the loonie to weaken after three
months of sustained strength," said Bipan Rai, executive
director, macro strategy at CIBC Capital Markets in a research
note.
    The Canadian dollar ended the North American
trading session at C$1.2963 to the greenback, or 77.14 U.S.
cents, weaker than Friday's close of C$1.2919, or 77.41 U.S.
cents.
    The currency touched its weakest since April 8 at C$1.3016. 
  
    China's exports and imports fell more than expected in
April, underlining weak demand at home and abroad and cooling
hopes of a recovery in the world's second-largest economy.
 
    China is a major customer for Canada's commodity exports.
    U.S. crude futures prices ended down $1.22 at $43.44
a barrel on expectations that U.S. crude inventories will build
to record highs.        
    Canadian government bond prices rose across the maturity
curve, with the two-year price up 6.5 Canadian cents
to yield 0.528 percent and the benchmark 10-year 
rising 34 Canadian cents to yield 1.318 percent.

 (Reporting by Fergal Smith in Toronto and Leah Schnurr in
Ottawa; Editing by James Dalgleish)