CANADA FX DEBT-C$ weaker as Spain, Italy cause jitters
* C$ at C$0.9986 vs US$, or $1.0014 * Spain political scandal, tight Italy election weigh * Bond prices higher across the curve * Australian central bank rate decision due overnight By Alastair Sharp TORONTO, Feb 4 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar ended weaker on Monday, hurt by a growing Spanish political crisis that weighed on that country's borrowing costs and hurt the broader appetite for riskier assets. Adding to investor unease about the euro zone, Italian polls showed former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi regaining ground ahead of elections this month. The worries offset the positive afterglow from decent North American data late last week. The Canadian dollar ended trade at C$0.9986 to the U.S. dollar, or $1.0014, weaker than its Friday finish at C$0.9973, or $1.0027. The Canadian dollar had been modestly stronger in morning trade. "The turnaround came. The real driver today was the growing political scandal in Spain driving up the cost of Spanish borrowing and that's ignited fears about a renewed European crisis," said Adam Button, currency analyst at ForexLive in Montreal. Spain's ruling party is embroiled in a corruption scandal that threatens the prime minister's credibility as he seeks to battle economic crisis. Button said the Canadian currency would likely trade in a tight range between equal value with the U.S. dollar and C$0.99 to the greenback this week, but could break out on any surprises from Australia's central bank overnight or Canadian jobs data due on Friday. "Canada's central banking cousin, the Reserve Bank of Australia, decides on interest rates (overnight). A lot of times their comments about China can set the tone in markets and spill over into the Canadian dollar," he said. On Friday, data showed U.S. nonfarm payrolls grew modestly in January, while gains in the prior two months were bigger than initially reported. That data helped bring the Canadian dollar back to around parity, a week after the Bank of Canada took a more dovish stance on interest rates that surprised markets and sent the currency down sharply. Canadian housing starts and trade balance data will also be released on Friday. Canadian government bond prices were higher across the curve, with the two-year Canadian government bond rising 7 Canadian cents to yield 1.158 percent and the benchmark 10-year bond jumping 46 Canadian cents to yield 1.990 percent.
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