Canadian dollar ends down on global growth concern
By Frank Pingue
TORONTO, Feb 7 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar closed lower against the U.S. dollar on Thursday, given the nagging concerns that a global economic slowdown could erode demand for the country's key export commodities.
Bond prices fell across the curve as investors crept back into riskier assets like equities ahead of domestic jobs and housing data on Friday.
The Canadian dollar closed at C$1.0108 to the U.S. dollar, or 98.93 U.S. cents, down from C$1.0061 to the U.S. dollar, or 99.39 U.S. cents at Wednesday's close.
During the session the Canadian dollar bounced around in a range of C$1.0129, or 98.73 U.S. cents, to C$1.0076, or 99.25 U.S. cents.
If the slowdown in the U.S. economy hits the global economy it could hurt the Canadian dollar as there would likely be lower demand for Canadian commodities such as oil, gas and metals.
"We're seeing the Canadian dollar basically just fall out of favor here, with the market still concerned about a general recession type scenario in the States," said George Davis, chief technical strategist at RBC Capital Markets.
"But another thing that has sort of contributed to the move ... has been more just the broader based strength in the U.S. dollar than anything else."
Barring a sharp turnaround on Friday, the Canadian dollar is on track to record its first weekly loss in three weeks as the momentum it enjoyed after aggressive U.S. Federal Reserve rate cuts last month appears to have faded.
Traders will get a glimpse into the health of the Canadian economy on Friday as job and housing figures are both scheduled for release.
The economy is expected to have added 10,000 jobs in January while housing starts are expected to rise to 210,000 from 187,5000 in December, according to a Reuters poll.
Higher oil and gold prices, which often influence the Canadian dollar, given the nature of Canada's exports, moved higher and helped cushion the fall in the currency.
BONDS TURN LOWER
Canadian bond prices turned lower as the safe-haven bids they enjoyed earlier in the week when stock markets tumbled was reversed slightly as stock markets edged higher.
Both the Toronto Stock Exchange's main index and the Dow Jones industrial average ended a three-session losing streak with gains of 58.17 points and 46.90 points respectively.
While the key jobs and housing data will be watched closely, some experts suggest moves could be limited, or temporary, until the market gets a look at longer-term data.
"You probably need to go beyond tomorrow to another month," said Max Clarke, an economist at IDEAglobal in New York. "You want to have more than one month in a row of more positive data to reverse some of the recent moves that have occurred in our (Canadian government bonds).
The two-year bond fell 11 Canadian cents to C$102.00 to yield 3.096 percent. The 10-year bond dropped 61 Canadian cents to C$100.99 to yield 3.872 percent.
The yield spread between the two- and 10-year bond was 77.6 basis points, up from 74.7 points at the previous close.
The 30-year bond fell C$1.46 to C$112.84 to yield 4.231 percent. In the United States, the 30-year treasury yielded 4.525 percent.
The three-month when-issued T-bill yielded 3.27 percent, down from 3.28 percent at the previous close.
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