CANADA FX DEBT-Risk appetite helps push C$ to 13-week high
* C$ finishes at 83.11 U.S. cents
* Rises as high as 83.24 U.S. cents
* Bond prices lower across curve (Adds details, quotes)
By Jennifer Kwan
TORONTO, April 15 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar touched its highest level in 13 weeks against the U.S. dollar on Wednesday as improved sentiment helped lift equities from earlier lows and drew investors to riskier assets.
The currency climbed as high as C$1.2013 to the U.S. dollar, or 83.24 U.S. cents, which marked its strongest level since Jan. 12.
That was comfortably above the C$1.3066 to the U.S. dollar, or 76.53 U.S. cents, that it fell to on March 9, which marked its lowest point since September 2004.
The Canadian dollar tracked North American equity markets, with the S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE rallying higher at the end of the session, after dropping more than 1 percent earlier in the day. U.S stocks indexes were generally stronger.
Benjamin Reitzes, economist at BMO Capital Markets, said the Canadian dollar and U.S. stocks essentially peaked at around the same time, early in the afternoon.
"Risk aversion and risk tolerance is still driving the Canadian dollar," he said. "Investors were putting risk on and the Canadian dollar benefited from that, as did equities."
The Canadian dollar finished at C$1.2032 to the U.S. dollar, or 83.11 U.S. cents, up from C$1.2140 to the U.S. dollar, or 82.37 U.S. cents, at the end of Tuesday's North American session.
Economic data, including U.S. consumer prices and industrial production figures, was largely weak. [ID:nN15491736] But the Federal Reserve's Beige Book said economic activity in some parts of the U.S. economy appeared to be stabilizing. [ID:nKWSkpJa]
"The speed of the economic downturn is starting to slow down a little and moderate a little bit and people are taking heart from that and bidding up riskier assets," said George Davis, chief technical strategist at RBC Capital Markets.
"We are starting to (see) some instances where we're getting topside surprises in the data and that is sort of leading people to the conclusion that we are in an environment where things are 'less bad'."
Canadian data that may attract investor attention later this week includes Thursday's February manufacturing sales report and the consumer price index for March due on Friday.
"We think that, at least in terms of the headline number, we'll see the impact of higher food and shelter prices playing a pretty important role," Charmaine Buskas, senior economics strategist TD Securities, said of the CPI data. "We should see a little bit of resilience in the core numbers as well."
"We should see at least see a little bit of strength in the Canadian dollar on the back of that," she added.
BOND PRICES LOWER
With no major domestic economic news on Wednesday, Canadian bond prices were lower across the curve as money flowed into equity markets.
"Equity prices were higher and that was taking a bit from bonds," said Reitzes.
The two-year bond was down 8 Canadian cents at C$100.25 to yield 1.130 percent, while the 10-year bond retreated 17 Canadian cents to C$107.05 to yield 2.938 percent.
The 30-year bond fell 65 Canadian cents at C$123.25 to yield 3.668 percent. In the United States, the 30-year treasury yielded 3.6616 percent.
Canadian bonds underperformed their U.S. counterparts, with the 30-year 0.64 basis points below its U.S. counterpart, compared with 2.5 basis points on Tuesday. (Additional reporting by Frank Pingue)
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