5 Min Read
* C$ weakens to C$0.9960 vs US$, or $1.0040
* Touches weakest level in a month
* C$ approaches parity as investors flee risk
* Bond prices rally across curve
* Canada loses 5,500 net jobs in August (Updates to close, adds analyst comment)
By Andrea Hopkins
TORONTO, Sept 9 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar fell to near parity with the U.S. dollar on Friday, touching a one-month low, as global doubts about Europe's ability to resolve its debt crisis punished stock markets and sent investors to safer havens.
The Canadian currency fell as part of a selloff of riskier assets. Bearish headlines on Canadian job woes were amplified by news that a top German ECB official would quit due to disagreement with the bank's policy of buying euro zone government bonds. [MKTS/GLOB]
The latest shock from the euro zone also sent the euro and oil prices tumbling, weighing on Canada's risk- and commodity-related currency. Meanwhile, safe-haven flows poured into the U.S. dollar and Treasuries, whose liquidity is favored in times of stress. [.N] [FRX/]
"We've got a general risk-off environment which never helps. Then we got a jobs report which was far from encouraging. And we've actually had an environment of U.S. dollar rebound -- which has been conspicuous by its absence in the past couple of months," said David Watt, senior currency strategist at Royal Bank of Canada.
"So that's three things that basically leaned against us and helped push up close to parity."
The Canadian currency was already weakening when domestic economic data came in below expectations, including a surprise loss of 5,500 net jobs in August. It was also hit by fears that U.S. President Barack Obama's plan to stimulate jobs will be held up in Congress. [ID:nN1E7880PE] [ID:nN1E7880DX]
The Canadian dollar CAD=D4 ended the North American session at C$0.9960 to the U.S. dollar, or $1.0040, down from Thursday's North American session close at C$0.9880 to the U.S. dollar, or $1.0121.
Earlier, the currency fell as low as C$0.9980 versus the U.S. dollar, or $1.0020, its lowest level since Aug. 9, which marked the last time the Canadian dollar was on one-on-one footing with the greenback.
"At the moment, liquidity of the U.S. is king ... the uncertainties on the risk side are seeing the (Canadian dollar) lag, but it doesn't have anything like the structural negatives that are facing the euro zone, hence the bias is that euro/CAD will continue to go lower," said Jeremy Stretch, head of currency strategy at CIBC in London.
He said that over the next few sessions the Canadian dollar could climb as high as C$1.34 versus the euro, or 74.63 euro cents, levels last seen in July. The Canadian dollar reached C$1.3582 to the euro on Friday.
Stretch noted there was significant support just one basis point weaker than Friday's low versus the greenback, which if breached could drive the Canadian dollar to the other side of parity at C$1.0010-20.
He expected that such a move would be short-lived, however, saying that the currency's underlying dynamics are still relatively encouraging.
RBC's Watt also sees parity or beyond in the near term, as investors look for safe havens beyond Europe and are lured back to the relative security of the greenback.
"We still see parity on the near term horizon, if not movement above parity," Watt said.
"We don't think the environment is really all that conducive to people eagerly going into U.S. dollar, but we certainly do see more upside to U.S. dollar, as the risk environment is cycling upward," he said.
Canadian bond prices ended the day higher across the curve, rallying along with and slightly outperforming U.S. Treasuries. [US/].
The two-year bond CA2YT=RR was up 19.5 Canadian cents to yield 0.782 percent, while the 10-year bond CA10YT=RR gained C$1.01 to yield 2.106 percent. (With additional reporting by Claire Sibonney; Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson)