CANADA FX DEBT-C$ hits one-week low as oil slides; bonds rally

Mon Feb 2, 2009 9:50am EST
 
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 * C$ falls towards 80 U.S. cents, lowest since Jan. 23.
 * Lower commodity prices blamed for currency's slide
 * Bond prices higher across curve as global stocks sink
 By Frank Pingue
 TORONTO, Feb 2 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar fell to its
lowest level in over a week against the U.S. dollar on Monday
as prices for key Canadian exports like oil dropped, dragging
the currency along for the ride.
 Domestic bond prices, with no Canadian data to influence a
move, were up across the curve due largely to a drop in equity
prices overnight that is expected to extend through the North
American session.
 At 9:30 a.m. (1430 GMT), the Canadian unit was at C$1.2435
to the U.S. dollar, or 80.42 U.S. cents, down from C$1.2265 to
the U.S. dollar, or 81.53 U.S. cents, at Friday's close.
 Oil prices dropped below $41 a barrel as a deepening U.S.
recession shrank demand in the world's top fuel burner and
evidence mounted of a global downturn.
 That, along with lower prices for other commodities like
gold, weighed on the domestic currency since Canada's economy
relies heavily on exporting commodities.
 It was enough to knock the Canadian dollar as far down as
C$1.2451 to the U.S. dollar, or 80.31 U.S. cents, its lowest
level since Jan. 23.
 "It's very much about commodity prices," said Michael
Gregory, senior economist at BMO Capital Markets. "They're down
across the board ... oil, gas, gold the whole nine yards, so
yeah it's all about commodity prices today that are helping to
sort of weaken the currency."
 There is no domestic data due until later in the week when
the December building permits and January IVEY reports arrive.
But the key report of the week will be Friday's January jobs
data, which is expected to show the economy shed 40,000 jobs.
 The Canadian dollar fell 0.4 percent last week.
 BONDS ALL HIGHER
 Canadian bond prices were higher across the curve given the
combination of lower world stocks, U.S. data that underscored
the rapid deterioration in consumer spending and spillover from
last week's domestic data that showed the economy shrank in
November.
 Mark Chandler, fixed income strategist at RBC Capital
Markets said weak equity markets were the primary driver of
bond prices early on Monday. Toronto's key stock index dropped
1.2 percent at the open.
 Investors fled riskier assets like stocks in favor of more
secure government debt overnight as jitters intensified about
poor economic data and falling corporate profits in a rapidly
slowing global economy.
 That trend was expected to continue through the North
American session and keep bond prices higher.
 The two-year bond was up 4 Canadian cents at C$102.43 to
yield 1.397 percent, while the 10-year bond climbed 23 Canadian
cents to C$109.80 to yield 3.035 percent.
 The 30-year bond rose 65 Canadian cents to C$121.85 to
yield 3.742 percent. In the United States, the 30-year treasury
yielded 3.538 percent.
 (Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson)