CANADA FX DEBT-C$ lower on rate-cut expectations

Tue Feb 24, 2009 9:46am EST
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* Higher oil prices help cushion C$'s drop

* No Canadian economic data to inspire a currency move

* Bond prices flat right across curve

By Frank Pingue

TORONTO, Feb 24 (Reuters) - Canada's dollar was slightly lower versus the greenback on Tuesday morning as expectations of a Bank of Canada interest rate cut left little room for optimism that fundamentals in Canada are better than elsewhere.

The latest drop in the Canadian dollar came on the heels of weak retail sales figures for December, released on Monday, that offered more evidence of a deepening recession in Canada and will likely pressure the Bank of Canada to cut its key interest rate by a half point on March 3 to 0.50 percent.

Still, some experts say Canada will record smaller budget deficits and current account deficits over the course of the year, compared with the rest of the world, which could bode well for the currency.

"It's really symptomatic of what we've been seeing over the last little while, and that is that the markets are finding it hard to make much of a distinction between Canada and the U.S. at the moment," said Shaun Osborne, chief currency strategist at TD Securities.

"There is still some value in the Canadian dollar because although the outlook here is not particularly bright, I still think it's relatively brighter than elsewhere."   Continued...