CANADA FX DEBT-C$ hits 21-month low, weighed by softer jobs outlook
* C$ at $1.0549 vs US$, or 94.80 U.S. cents * Falls to as low as C$1.0578, or 94.53 U.S. cents * Disparate outlook on job reports leaves C$ on shaky ground * U.S. dollar keeps gaining on speculation Fed will reduce stimulus By Alastair Sharp TORONTO, July 2 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar slid to a 21-month low against its U.S. counterpart on Tuesday, hurt by signs the Canadian economy is struggling even as U.S. growth allows the Federal Reserve to consider reducing monetary stimulus. Canada's currency at one point on Tuesday hit C$1.0578 against the greenback, or 94.53 U.S. cents, its weakest level since Oct. 4, 2011. Analysts said the Canadian currency could face further pressure at the end of the week, with employment data due out for both the U.S. and Canadian labor markets. Canada is expected to have given up some 2,500 jobs in June after notching oversized gains in the prior month, while the much larger U.S. economy is seen adding 165,000 jobs. "It can definitely get weaker, depending on how the data shake out for the rest of the week," said Benjamin Reitzes, a foreign exchange strategist at BMO Capital Markets. "The momentum is against Canada at this point." The U.S. dollar rose against a swath of currencies on Tuesday as a recent string of generally solid U.S. economic data gave credence to the view that the Federal Reserve will scale back its economic stimulus measures sooner than expected. Economic growth surveys conducted in recent months show U.S. growth is expected to outpace Canada's this year and next. U.S. new motor vehicle sales in June were poised to record their strongest month in more than 5-1/2 years and factories posted a second straight month of gains in new orders in May, while home prices posted their biggest annual increase in more than seven years in May, data showed on Tuesday. The Canadian dollar ended the session trading at C$1.0549 to the greenback, or 94.80 U.S. cents, compared with C$1.0518, or 95.08 U.S. cents, at Friday's North American close. The loonie, as the currency is known, ended at C$1.0495 on Monday, when Canadian trading desks were closed for the Canada Day holiday. The loonie has shed value in recent weeks as the U.S. Federal Reserve signals its intention to scale back asset purchases that had supported equity and bond markets. Meanwhile, uneven Canadian economic data has caused investors to wonder how soon the Bank of Canada will act on its long-held threat to raise interest rates. Prices for Canadian government debt were up across the curve. The two-year bond was up 5 Canadian cents to yield 1.199 percent, while the benchmark 10-year bond rose 25 Canadian cents to yield 2.413 percent.
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