CANADA FX DEBT-C$ shaken by weak European data, low oil prices
* C$ skids to lowest level since April 2
* Thursday's Canadian jobs data in focus
* Bond prices up as stocks set for lower open
By Frank Pingue
TORONTO, April 7 (Reuters) - Canada's currency dropped on Tuesday to its lowest level since last week versus the U.S. greenback, bogged down by weaker oil prices and nagging concerns about the health of the global economy.
The price of oil, a key Canadian commodity and export, fell closer to $50 a barrel while weak European data fanned concerns about corporate profits and left investors less willing to take on riskier assets.
"Essentially general risk aversion is what's driving the Canadian dollar weaker right now," said Benjamin Reitzes, an economist at BMO Capital Markets.
"And along with that oil prices are a little weaker and some commodities are generally weaker and that's generally weighing on the Canadian dollar as well."
At 8:00 a.m. (1200 GMT), the Canadian unit was at C$1.2465 to the U.S. dollar, or 80.22 U.S. cents, down from C$1.2385 to the U.S. dollar, or 80.74 U.S. cents, at Monday's close.
Earlier, it had fallen as low as C$1.2486 to the U.S. dollar, or 80.08 U.S. cents. which marked the currency's lowest level since April 2.
Data from Europe showed the euro zone economy shrank more than expected, underlining the depth of the recession and sparking a slide in European stocks that was expected to carry into the North American session. [ID:nL798677]
With no Canadian data due out on Tuesday, the Canadian dollar is likely to be influenced largely by the price of oil and direction of equities.
Canadian housing starts data for March will be released on Wednesday, but the week's key piece of domestic data comes on Thursday with the release of the March jobs data.
"The housing starts tomorrow could have could have a minor impact but that's unlikely," said Reitzes. "The jobs data are what counts at this point."
The Canadian economy is expected to have shed 55,000 jobs in March following a loss of 82,600 jobs in February, which would further support a widespread view that the economy contracted in the first quarter of 2009.
BOND PRICES HIGHER
Canadian government bond prices, with no domestic news to spark a move, followed the bigger U.S. Treasury market higher as North American equity futures pointed to a lower open.
One drag on U.S. equity futures, which often influences Canadian investors, came from a report that the International Monetary Fund was set to forecast toxic assets on the balance sheets of financial corporations could reach $4 trillion. [ID:nT186243] and [ID:nN07442902]
"Risk aversion drives money out of equities and into bonds and that definitely gives all fixed income products a boost," said Reitzes.
The two-year Canada bond was up 5 Canadian cents at C$100.26 to yield 1.126 percent, while the 10-year bond rose 15 Canadian cents to C$106.75 to yield 2.972 percent.
The 30-year bond was up 25 Canadian cents at C$122.65 to yield 3.698 percent. In the United States, the 30-year Treasury yielded 3.7130 percent.
(Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)
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