CANADA FX DEBT-C$ steady as investors await Bank of Canada
* C$ little changed at C$0.9939 vs US$, or $1.0061 * Bond prices ease slightly across the curve By Claire Sibonney TORONTO, Dec 4 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar was little changed in a tight range against the U.S. currency on Tuesday as investors held off making any big bets ahead of the Bank of Canada's interest rate decision later in the morning. The central bank is expected to keep rates steady until the fourth quarter of 2013 but markets will be listening to its language closely for any indication of a shift in its slightly hawkish bias. Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney, named last week as the next head of the Bank of England, has been signaling a need to raise the main policy rate since April, making the country the only industrialized nation to lean toward a rate hike. "I think the Bank of Canada will definitely be status quo for the short term here until there's a new leader and even if they do announce who the next governor is going to be, it's still going to be a matter of sticking to the script that's been set out over the past year," said Blake Jespersen, managing director of foreign exchange sales at BMO Capital Markets. Carney will stay at the Bank of Canada through May, and starts at the Bank of England in July. He will serve a five-year term, rather than the eight years that had been expected for the next BoE governor. At 8:05 a.m. (1505 GMT), the Canadian dollar was at C$0.9939 versus the U.S. dollar, or $1.0061, compared with C$0.9949, or $1.0051, at Monday's North American session close. The Canadian dollar was trading in a narrow daily range of just 20 points against the greenback between C$0.9935-C$0.9955. The currency, which typically follows moves in global equity and commodity markets, failed to take direction from broader risk sentiment on Tuesday as investors focused on Canada-specific drivers ahead of the central bank's 9 a.m. (1400 GMT) announcement. Elsewhere, the euro hit a six-month high and European shares and peripheral euro zone bonds added to recent gains Tuesday, as optimism over Greece's plan to buy back debt and signs of progress elsewhere in the bloc boosted sentiment. Meanwhile, the price of oil - a key Canadian export - slipped as weak manufacturing data and protracted U.S. budget negotiations fanned concerns about the health of the global economy. Near term, Jespersen expected the Canadian dollar to hold between C$0.9900-C$0.9980. "I think as long as the U.S. continues to delay these 'fiscal cliff' talks and the closer we get to the (year-end) deadline, I think that will start to cause the market some concern and some stress ... but overall we're going to remain in a fairly tight range for the Canadian dollar," he said. Canadian bond prices edged lower across the curve, with the two-year bond down half a Canadian cent to yield 1.064 percent, and the benchmark 10-year bond down 7 Canadian cents to yield 1.707 percent.
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