CANADA FX DEBT-C$ softens ahead of rate decision; bank statement in focus
* Canadian dollar at C$1.2518 or 79.88 U.S. cents * Bond prices mixed across the maturity curve By Solarina Ho TORONTO, March 4 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar was softer against the U.S. dollar on Wednesday, with market attention focused on the interest rate decision by the Bank of Canada later this morning. The Bank of Canada is widely expected to keep rates at 0.75 percent following January's stunning 25 basis point cut, after Governor Stephen Poloz said that cut was an "insurance" as it looked at the impact of cheap crude prices on the Canadian economy. "The bigger question for us is how the market comes out of this priced for the subsequent meeting," said Adam Cole, global head of FX strategy at RBC Capital Markets in London. "If the statement leaves wide open the possibility of another rate cut in the relative near-term, that, I think, is probably still negative for the currency even if it comes with unchanged rates today." The Canadian dollar was at C$1.2518 to the greenback, or 79.88 U.S. cents at 8:39 a.m (1339 GMT), weaker than Tuesday's finish at C$1.2490, or 80.06 U.S. cents. Most currency strategists are still calling for a weaker Canadian dollar in coming months, according to a Reuters poll released on Wednesday. The markets are currently pricing in about a 55 percent chance of a 25 basis point rate cut at the central bank's next meeting in April. Canadian government bond prices were mixed across the maturity curve, with the longer-term securities lower. The two-year rose 1.5 Canadian cents to yield 0.491 percent and the benchmark 10-year fell 12 Canadian cents to yield 1.436 percent. (Reporting by Solarina Ho; Editing by Nick Zieminski)
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