CANADA FX DEBT-C$ strengthens after housing data; Fed in focus
* C$ at C$1.0531 vs US$, or 94.96 U.S. cents * Housing starts were better-than-expected 199,586 units in June * Markets await Bernanke who will speak on Wednesday * Bond prices mixed By Solarina Ho TORONTO, July 9 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar firmed against the U.S. dollar on Tuesday after domestic housing data came in stronger than expected. The seasonally adjusted annualized rate of housing starts was 199,586 units in June, a decrease from May, which was revised higher to 204,616. Analysts polled by Reuters had expected 187,000 starts in June. At 8:58 a.m. (1258 GMT), the Canadian dollar, which was mostly outperforming other major currencies, was trading at C$1.0531 versus the greenback, or 94.96 U.S. cents. This was stronger than shortly before the data was released and stronger than Monday's finish at C$1.0560, or 94.70 U.S. cents. The moves were subdued overall however, as markets wait for U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke to speak on Wednesday. The focus will center on any indication he may give on when the U.S. central bank will begin reining in its stimulus. Current expectations are for sometime this fall. "Everything Bernanke says is critically important to the market these days. We're seeing a lot of participants waiting for his statement on Wednesday before putting on much trading activity," said Blake Jespersen, managing director, foreign exchange sales at BMO Capital Markets. "In Canadian dollar terms, we do expect some more weakness, but it already has moved quite a bit now and we think it is trying to find somewhat of a bottom around these levels." Jespersen said C$1.05 to C$1.0650 appears to be the range for Canada's dollar over the next little while. Prices for Canadian government debt were mixed, with the two-year bond adding one Canadian cent to yield 1.157 percent and the benchmark 10-year bond shedding 13 Canadian cents to yield 2.490 percent.
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