CANADA FX DEBT-C$ touches 1-1/2 month low as data lifts greenback
(Updates with strategist's comments, closing figures) * Canadian dollar at C$1.2535 or 79.78 U.S. cents * Bond prices mixed across the maturity curve By Solarina Ho TORONTO, June 1 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar beat a sharp retreat against its U.S. counterpart on Monday, hurt by oil prices that fell on expectations that OPEC production levels will stay elevated, while the greenback was lifted by economic data. The U.S. dollar rose against key currencies on figures that showed stronger-than-expected manufacturing activity in May and that construction spending picked up sharply in April, boosting expectations a U.S. interest hike is likely this year. Those data points followed an unexpectedly flat April reading of U.S. consumer spending that suggested the economy was struggling to gain momentum early in the second quarter. "We have this underlying assumption that Q2 is going to be better ... We just need to see a lot of data before we're 100 percent convinced that core assumption is correct," said Greg Anderson, global head of foreign exchange strategy at BMO Capital Markets in New York, who sees no chance the U.S. Federal Reserve will move on rates in June. The Canadian dollar, which was underperforming its currency counterparts, finished at C$1.2535 to the greenback, or 79.78 U.S. cents, softer than the Bank of Canada's official close of C$1.2437, or 80.41 U.S. cents, on Friday. At one point on Monday, the currency touched its weakest level in 1-1/2 months, trading at C$1.2563, far off its session high of C$1.2440. Monday's numbers were the first of a raft of North American data this week, culminating in U.S. and Canadian employment figures for May on Friday. "This is a good data point today, no question about it, but the big data is on Friday. There's a limit to how far you want to extend yourself long USD/CAD ahead of twin payrolls," Anderson said. Oil is a major Canadian export, and crude prices, which couldn't replicate Friday's sharp gains, did little to support the loonie. U.S. crude prices were up 0.05 percent at $60.33, while Brent crude lost 0.84 percent to $65.01. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) will meet on Friday and is expected to keep production at high levels, adding to concerns about excess global supply. Canadian government bond prices were mixed across the maturity curve. The two-year price rose 1 Canadian cent to yield 0.566 percent and the benchmark 10-year fell 9 Canadian cents to yield 1.634 percent. The Canada-U.S. two-year bond spread was -8.7 basis points, while the 10-year spread was -54.7 basis points. (Reporting by Solarina Ho; Editing by Nick Zieminski; and Peter Galloway)
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