CANADA FX DEBT-C$ extends losses as Fed minutes boost US$
* C$ at C$1.0173 vs US$, or 98.30 U.S. cents, a 7-month low * Canadian currency does better against euro, yen, Aussie * Fed minutes show some support for pulling back QE By Alastair Sharp TORONTO, Feb 20 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar touched a fresh seven-month low against its U.S. counterpart on Wednesday as the greenback got a lift from minutes from last month's Federal Reserve meeting that showed some support for scaling back the Fed's bond-buying program. Also undercutting the loonie, as Canada's currency is colloquially known, were figures that showed Canadian home prices fell for a fifth straight month in January, the latest in a string of dismal data points for the economy. "The domestic data is starting to take a toll on the Canadian dollar...and with all other things being equal, the pair wants to drift higher," said Adam Button, a currency analyst at ForexLive in Montreal. Hints the Fed could pare back its asset purchases should help the greenback and hurt the loonie, which has recently benefited from a comparatively hawkish Bank of Canada tone. But the Canadian dollar tracked the greenback's gain against other major currencies after the Fed minutes were released as investors saw the statement as a broad endorsement of U.S. economic recovery that would likely also boost Canada, which counts the United States as its largest trading partner by far. "The interpretation of the minutes is it's more likely the Fed will cut QE (quantitative easing) later this year, and they will do that only if the economy improves, so really it's an endorsement of the economy," Button said. FURTHER WEAKNESS EYED The Canadian dollar ended the session at C$1.0173 to the greenback, or 98.30 U.S. cents, compared with C$1.0118, or 98.83 U.S. cents, at Tuesday's North American close. That area was the weakest for the loonie since last July, when it traded above C$1.02. "It's consistent with markets being slightly risk-negative and (U.S.) dollar positive for that matter," said Adam Cole, global head of foreign exchange strategy at Royal Bank of Canada. ForexLive's Button said the loonie could weaken as low as C$1.04 in coming weeks, while it would struggle to appreciate beyond C$1.01. The loonie performed better against the euro, Japanese yen, and Australian dollar, recouping some morning losses after the Fed minutes. It gained sharply against the British pound after minutes from a Bank of England meeting showed policymakers were willing to ease monetary policy further. Global equity markets extended losses after the Fed minutes were released, while oil and gold both fell. The two-year bond added 3 Canadian cents to yield 1.121 percent, while the benchmark 10-year bond added 5 Canadian cents to yield 2.018 percent.
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