CANADA FX DEBT-C$ firms against greenback, but lags euro, Aussie
(Adds analyst quotes, adds details, updates prices) * Canadian dollar at C$1.3937 or 71.75 U.S. cents * Bond prices lower across the maturity curve * Canada-U.S. 10-year spread at a record wide By Fergal Smith TORONTO, Dec 22 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar firmed against its U.S. counterpart on Tuesday, supported by higher U.S. crude oil prices, although it lagged some other units in holiday-thinned trading. U.S. crude prices settled at $36.14 a barrel, up 0.9 percent, but Brent crude lost 0.36 percent to $36.22 as the two benchmarks moved into parity for the first time since January of this year. Repatriation flows were influential in light activity, according to Jack Spitz, managing director of foreign exchange at National Bank Financial, referring to trades where foreign subsidiaries covert currency to the currency of the parent. "It's been light flow, fairly low liquidity, desks are not fully staffed and positions are being squared," said Spitz. The Canadian dollar closed at C$1.3937 to the greenback, or 71.75 U.S. cents, stronger than Monday's close of C$1.3965, or 71.61 U.S. cents. The currency's strongest level of the session was C$1.3917, while its weakest level was C$1.3965. It touched a more than 11-year low of C$1.4003 on Friday. "There's little reason to believe that USD-CAD isn't going to take another run at 1.40," said Spitz, although adding that interest remains to sell at that psychological threshold. Against the euro, the Canadian dollar touched a nearly four-month low at C$1.5320, while it hit a 15-month low against the Australian dollar at C$1.0108. Currencies that are more closely tied to China, such as the Australian dollar, were helped by the country's pledge to make policy more flexible. Canadian average weekly earnings of non-farm payroll employees rose 0.5 percent in October from the previous month, data from Statistics Canada showed, and 1.9 percent from a year earlier. The number of non-farm payroll jobs rose by 23,900 following an increase of 51,700 in September. Canadian government bond prices were lower across the maturity curve, with the two-year price down 6.5 Canadian cents to yield 0.521 percent and the benchmark 10-year falling 30 Canadian cents to yield 1.414 percent. The Canada-U.S. 10-year spread widened an additional basis point to -82.4 basis points, extending recent outperformance for Canadian government bonds and trading at a record wide gap. Canadian GDP data for October is due on Wednesday. The median estimate in a Reuters poll is for a 0.2 percent gain after falling 0.5 percent in September. (Reporting by Fergal Smith; Editing by Bernadette Baum and Grant McCool)
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