CANADA FX DEBT-C$ dips with oil prices amid uncertain U.S. policy outlook

Thu Mar 23, 2017 5:23pm EDT
 
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 (Adds portfolio manager quotes and updates prices)
    * Canadian dollar ends at C$1.3351, or 74.90 U.S. cents
    * Bond prices mixed across the yield curve

    By Fergal Smith
    TORONTO, March 23 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar weakened
on Thursday against the greenback with a fall in oil prices, but
losses were muted a day after the Canadian budget as investors
grappled with an uncertain outlook for the policies of U.S.
President Donald Trump.
    The Canadian dollar          ended at C$1.3351 to the
greenback, or 74.90 U.S. cents, weaker than Wednesday's close of
C$1.3327, or 75.04 U.S. cents.
    "Traders are looking for further direction from either the
oil market or from the equity market and risk appetite as Trump
and the Republicans try to pass their healthcare bill," said
Scott Smith, chief market strategist, associate portfolio
manager at Viewpoint Investment Partners.
    The U.S. House of Representatives canceled Thursday's vote
on healthcare legislation. Losing the vote would bruise
investors' confidence in Trump's ability to deliver on his
promises of tax cuts and infrastructure spending.             
    Prices of oil, one of Canada's major exports, struggled to
recover from four-month lows because of investor concerns that
supply cuts led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting
Countries were not yet reducing record U.S. crude
inventories.            
    U.S. crude        prices settled 34 cents lower at $47.70 a
barrel.
    On Wednesday, Canada's Liberal government unveiled a
stay-the-course budget that targeted export growth and some
measure of tax reform but did little to whittle away at
deficits, even as it backed off from an explicit pledge to
improve the debt outlook.                 
    "We have seen stability (in the currency) because there
weren't any real big changes when it comes to fiscal stimulus or
tax increases, so it's kind of steady as it goes," Smith said.
    The currency traded in a range of C$1.3317 to C$1.3357.
    Canadian government bond prices were mixed across the yield 
curve, with the two-year            flat to yield 0.775 percent
and the 10-year             falling 5 Canadian cents to yield
1.688 percent.
    On Wednesday, the 10-year yield touched a three-week
intraday low at 1.651 percent.    
    Canada's inflation report for February is due on Friday.
        

 (Reporting by Fergal Smith; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe and
Leslie Adler)