CANADA FX DEBT-C$ eases as oil cuts gains, stocks fall

Mon Mar 7, 2011 1:30pm EST
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   * C$ eases to $1.0268 as crude retreats on Gaddafi rumors
 * Stock markets slide on worries over global economy
 * Bond prices higher as equities fall
 * Canada January building permits fall unexpectedly
 (Adds details)
 TORONTO, March 7 (Reuters) - Canada's dollar CAD=D4
slipped against the greenback on Monday as the price of oil
retreated on speculation Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi was
looking to negotiate a safe exit from the country.
 U.S. crude futures CLc1, an influential factor for the
commodity-linked Canadian dollar, erased some gains, after
reaching their highest level since September 2008, on rumors
that Gaddafi was seeking an exit deal with rebels.
 Libya's violent conflict and the threat of wider supply
disruptions in the Middle East have spurred oil's recent rise
to over $100 a barrel. [O/R]
 Worries about the stifling effect of higher oil prices on
the global economy rattled stock markets, pulling down North
American indexes more than 1 percent on Monday.
 "Stocks have traded off quite aggressively and oil is down
(from highs)," said Brendan McGrath, senior foreign exchange
trader at Western Union Business Solutions, in Victoria,
British Columbia.
 At 12:55 p.m. (1755 GMT), the currency was at C$0.9739 to
the U.S. dollar, or $1.0268, down from Friday's North American
session close at C$0.9717 to the U.S. dollar, or $1.0291.
 The currency hit a session high of C$0.97 to the U.S.
dollar, or $1.0309, but pulled back slightly after a report
showed the overall value of Canadian building permits
unexpectedly dropped by 5.1 percent in January from December.
[ID:nN0730031]. But that move was short-lived.
 "The market looks like they're just letting this one slide
for the time being," said John Curran, senior vice-president at
 For now, he said key levels included C$0.9680-C$0.9710,
initial U.S. dollar support, while C$0.9780 marks the first
U.S. dollar resistance point.
 The session low was at C$0.9743, making for a 43-point
range so far on Monday.
 Canadian government bonds were flat to higher across the
curve with equities on the decline. The two-year bond
CA2YT=RR was unchanged to yield of 1.843 percent, while the
10-year bond CA10YT=RR edged up 2 Canadian cents to yield
3.332 percent.
 Several more pieces of data this week will help determine
the strength of the domestic economic recovery and market
pricing on the Bank of Canada's next interest rate hike.
 "We're waiting for some sort of catalyst to kick us out of
this current range that we're in (where) C$0.97 is looking to
be pretty good (U.S. dollar) support. It's going to be
data-driven." said McGrath.
 Housing starts, due on Tuesday, could show whether the
sector continues to be a drag on overall growth after being a
main factor pulling the economy from recession.
 Trade data for January on Thursday, as well as the February
reading on the jobs market on Friday, will be the main
attractions this week as market players look to see whether
both pieces of data can repeat the unexpected strength from
their previous months.
 Canada's surprise return to a trade surplus in December
prompted hopes of an export recovery as well and put the
prospect of a Bank of Canada interest rate hike back on the
 A modest pace of job creation would also support momentum
in the economic recovery.
 But if any of the data is weaker, the Canadian dollar may
follow suit and weigh on anticipation of an interest rate hike
before midyear, analysts said.
 The central bank has stayed on the sidelines since
September after three consecutive rate increases last year
brought its benchmark rate to a still-low 1 percent.
 Overnight index swaps, which trade based on expectations
for the key central bank rate, imply a fully priced-in rate
increase on the bank's Sept. 7 decision date. BOCWATCH
 (Reporting by Ka Yan Ng; editing by Rob Wilson)