May 28, 2009 / 9:13 PM / in 8 years

CANADA FX DEBT-C$ rises on oil, U.S. debt concerns

* Canadian dollar gets boost from rising oil, weaker USD

* Bonds track U.S. Treasuries in long-dated recovery rally

By Cameron French

TORONTO, May 28 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar firmed versus the U.S. currency on Thursday, helped by stronger domestic stock prices, a rise in the price of oil and debt-fueled pressure on the greenback.

The currency rose briefly above 90 U.S. cents, but eased below the mark later in the session, failing to eclipse a 7-month intraday high hit on Wednesday.

The Canadian dollar ended the session at C$1.1148 to the U.S. dollar, or 89.70 U.S. cents, up from C$1.1195 to the U.S. dollar, or 89.33 U.S. cents, at Wednesday’s close.

Crude oil prices climbed 3 percent to top $65 barrel, enhancing the appeal of Canada’s oil-rich economy, while a 2.5 percent rise in Canadian equities was seen drawing foreign stock buyers.

Also helping the currency was growing concern about the amount of debt the United States will have to issue to cover its record budget deficit.

“The flavor of the day seems to be the (U.S.) bond market right now,” said Steven Butler, head of currency trading at Scotia Capital.

“People are watching those yields creep higher and I think a lot of people are getting concerned that things are getting away maybe from the (U.S. Federal Reserve) a little bit,” he said.

The Canadian dollar has risen 17 percent since early March, as optimism about a possible economic turnaround has helped fuel oil and base metals prices -- which usually boost the Canadian dollar. Hopes for an early recovery also helped the market regain an appetite for risk, thus lessening the safe-haven appeal of the U.S. dollar.

The currency pushed briefly above the 90 U.S. cents mark, hitting 90.06 U.S. cents, and Butler said he expected it to push decisively through the level soon.

“I do think there’s probably some more room for Canada to strengthen,” he said.

The Canadian dollar will likely take its cue from a flurry of North American economic data on Friday, including Canadian current account data for the first quarter and U.S. preliminary first-quarter growth, which is expected to be negative.

BONDS MIXED, LONG-DATED NOTES SURGE

Canadian bond prices were mixed, with two-year notes dipping, while long-term bonds surged, rebounding from the previous day’s decline and following the lead of surging U.S. treasuries.

The gain among long-term bonds came after 10-year and 30-year notes hit six-month lows on Wednesday.

U.S. Treasuries, which often influence Canadian bond moves, had plunged in recent sessions on concerns about the growing supply of U.S. government bonds.

The benchmark two-year government bond dipped 1 Canadian cent to C$99.95 to yield 1.275 percent, while the 10-year bond rose 88 Canadian cents to C$102.36 to yield 3.469 percent.

The 30-year bond rose C$2.15 to C$115.50 to yield 4.068 percent. (Reporting by Cameron French; Editing by Frank McGurty)

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