Canada dollar rebounds on higher commodity prices

Wed Sep 17, 2008 4:52pm EDT
 
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 * Canadian dollar up slightly after volatile session
 * Rising gold, oil prices help currency's rebound
 * Bonds rally in response to weak equity markets
 By John McCrank
 TORONTO, Sept 17 (Reuters) - A late rally by commodity
prices helped the Canadian dollar recover from steep losses to
end slightly higher against the U.S. dollar on Wednesday.
 Canadian bond prices rose as investors sought the safety of
government debt as equity markets sold off on the turbulence in
the financial markets.
 The Canadian dollar closed at C$1.0688 to the U.S. dollar,
or 93.56 U.S. cents, up from C$1.0695 to the U.S. dollar, or
93.50 U.S. cents, at Tuesday's close.
 The currency spent the day in a wide range between
C$1.0617, or 94.19 U.S. cents, and C$1.0810, or 92.51 U.S.
cents.
 "It's just been a ridiculously volatile session with an
absolute turnaround," said Steve Butler, director of foreign
exchange at Scotia Capital.
 The currency hit its highest level in the overseas session
and then steadily weakened until midday, dropping 1.6 U.S.
cents, until commodity prices started to rally and gave it a
boost.
 Commodities make up about half of Canada's exports.
 Gold prices XAU= jumped almost $90 to $866 on a safe
haven bid, while U.S. crude CLc1 rose $6 to $97.16 a barrel,
helped by a softer greenback and data that showed U.S.
inventories fell last week. See [ID:nN17290446]
[ID:nLH518535].
 The safe haven bid was spurred by growing fears over the
outlook for the U.S. financial sector, and concerns over the
Federal Reserve's bailout of insurer American International
Group (AIG.N: Quote).
 The bailout followed the recent bankruptcy protection
filing by Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc LEH.N, the sale of
investment firm Merrill Lynch MER.N, and government takeovers
of U.S. mortgage insurance giants Freddie Mac FRE.N and
Fannie Mae FNM.N.
 The upheaval in the U.S. financial sector has made market
players loath to lend to one another, intensifying the tumult,
said Butler
 "Liquidity is absolutely the worst I've seen in a long,
long time and volatility is way up, so when things do turn,
moves are clearly getting exaggerated because the markets are
so illiquid."
 BONDS RISE
 Canadian bonds rallied on a safe haven bid as equity
markets took big losses.
 "Stocks are just getting killed," said Levente Mady, fixed
income strategist at MF Global Canada Co.
 He added, however, that the moves may have gone too far.
 "If you look at the stock market, there are certainly a
number of measures that indicate that things are overdone a
little bit, so you could make the argument that we might see a
little bit of a relief rally in stocks, which would have a
negative implication for the bond market," Mady said.
 On the data front, foreign investors reduced their holdings
in Canadian securities in July for the first time since
November 2007, dumping stocks and bonds for a net divestment of
C$5.59 billion ($5.22 billion), Statistics Canada said.
 Canadian investors resumed their acquisition of foreign
stocks in the month, resulting in a net investment in foreign
securities of C$1.25 billion.
 The two-year bond rose 3 Canadian cents to C$100.40 to
yield 2.561 percent, while the 10-year added 10 Canadian cents
to C$106.65 to yield 3.436 percent.
 The yield spread between the two-year and 10-year bond was
87.5 basis points, up from 85.8 basis points at the previous
close.
 The 30-year bond gained 5 Canadian cents to C$117.95 for a
yield of 3.948 percent. In the United States, the 30-year
Treasury yielded 4.078 percent.
 The three-month when-issued T-bill yielded 1.75 percent,
down from 2.15 percent at the previous close.
 (Reporting by John McCrank; editing by Rob Wilson)