CANADA FX DEBT-C$ strengthens to month high after Summers leaves Fed race
* C$ at C$1.0301 vs US$ or 97.08 U.S. cents * U.S. dollar hit by withdrawal of Summers for Fed * Canadian bond prices rise across maturities By Leah Schnurr TORONTO, Sept 16 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar strengthened on Monday to its highest in a month as its U.S. counterpart weakened against a range of currencies after former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers withdrew from the race to head up the U.S. central bank. The announcement over the weekend took the U.S. dollar broadly lower as investors perceived there would be a more gradual path for tightening monetary policy. "Having Summers now withdraw his candidacy and having the risk of a more dovish Fed chair has certainly impacted markets this morning," said Camilla Sutton, chief currency strategist at Scotiabank. As well as the question of who will succeed current Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, investors are also focused on when the Fed will start pulling back its economic stimulus program. The central bank will conclude a two-day policy meeting on Wednesday, and investors expect the Fed could announce it will reduce its $85 billion a month in bond purchases by $10 billion. The Canadian dollar was at C$1.0301 to the U.S. dollar, or 97.08 U.S. cents, stronger than Friday's session close at C$1.0347, or 96.65 U.S. cents. The Canadian dollar earlier hit its strongest level since mid-August. The greenback was 0.5 percent lower against a basket of currencies. At home, the Canadian dollar saw little reaction to data that showed foreigners resumed buying Canadian securities after a huge divestment in June. Data released last week that showed the ratio of household debt to income in Canada hit a record high in the second quarter could be a long-term positive for the loonie if it prompts a change in the Bank of Canada's policy stance, said Sutton. "This reopens the risk that the Bank of Canada turns to a more hawkish stance," Sutton said. The ratio of household debt to income rose to 163.4 percent in the second quarter from 162.1 percent in the first quarter. Prices for Canadian government bonds were higher across the maturity curve, with the two-year bond up seven and a half Canadian cents to yield 1.242 percent and the benchmark 10-year bond rising 54 Canadian cents to yield 2.699 percent.
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