3 Min Read
* Canadian dollar falls as low as 93 U.S. cents
* Bond prices climb in flight to safety
* Canada April inflation tops forecast at 1.8 pct
TORONTO, May 21 (Reuters) - Canada's dollar hit its weakest level in 14-weeks against the U.S. dollar on Friday as European worries more than offset slightly higher than expected Canadian inflation data that kept alive the possibility of a June 1 interest rate hike.
The currency slumped as low as C$1.0753 to the U.S. dollar, or 93.00 U.S. cents, its lowest since Feb. 9, as market players weighed the data against persistent global worries.
The consumer price index gained 0.3 percent in the month for an annual inflation rate of 1.8 percent, Statistics Canada said. The rate quickened from 1.4 percent in March and topped the consensus forecast of 1.7 percent. [ID:nN21149251]
Core CPI, which excludes volatile items like gasoline and closely monitored by the Bank of Canada, climbed 0.3 percent in the month for an annual rate of 1.9 percent, driven mostly by vehicle prices. Analysts had forecast a 1.8 percent rate.
"It doesn't answer the question as to whether or not the Bank of Canada goes on June 1. I think that's what most traders are looking at: 'Is this number going to be a decisive enough reason to move on June 1?'" said Jack Spitz, managing director of foreign exchange at National Bank Financial.
"And setting aside the other factors that are influencing the markets, being risk on, risk off, equities, uncertainties with respect to Europe, China, global growth concerns, they remain very, very much influential in what will likely be a decision that will come right down to June 1 for the Bank of Canada."
The data kept market expectations, as measured by yields on overnight index swaps, about evenly split on whether the Bank of Canada raises interest rates next month. BOCWATCH
At 7:53 a.m. (1153 GMT), the Canadian dollar CAD=D4 was at C$1.0726 to the U.S. dollar, or 93.23 U.S. cents, down from C$1.0678, or 93.65 U.S. cents, at Thursday's close. It was trading at C$1.0696, or 93.49 U.S. cents just before the data.
Canadian bonds prices climbed after the data, adding to gains as European equity markets fell and U.S. stock index futures pointed to a lower open as well. (Reporting by Ka Yan Ng; Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson)