CANADA FX DEBT-C$ ends near 4-year lows after Canada sheds jobs
* Canadian dollar at C$1.0901 or 91.73 U.S. cents * Canadian economy loses 45,900 jobs in Dec * Bond prices higher across the maturity curve By Andrea Hopkins TORONTO, Jan 10 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar hit a four-year low against the greenback on Friday after data showed the country unexpectedly shed jobs last month, adding to concerns about the economy's sluggish performance and capping a dismal week for the currency. The grim jobs report sent the loonie through the psychologically important C$1.09 level that analysts had thought could provide support. While the Canadian dollar had been widely expected to weaken in 2014 as U.S. economic growth outpaces that in Canada, the currency lost as much ground this week as analysts had expected it to lose in the next 12 months. "We haven't made any fundamental changes to our year-end outlook, which is C$1.10, so what you have to wonder is how much it is going to overshoot in the near term and how much weakness is real," said Mark Chandler, head of Canadian fixed income and currency strategy at Royal Bank of Canada. "Currency markets love to overshoot." The currency fell in every session this week as the U.S. dollar gained more than 2 cents on the Canadian dollar, to 91.73 U.S. cents at Friday's close from 94.06 U.S. cents one week earlier. Canada's economy lost 45,900 jobs in December and the unemployment rate rose in a surprising setback. At the same time, labor market data south of the border also disappointed as U.S. employers hired the fewest workers in almost three years. "For the Canadian dollar, very weak employment data - just like the trade data did on Tuesday - it just highlights some of the biggest concerns for the Canadian dollar, which is the economy not recovering to the extent that many had hoped," said Camilla Sutton, chief currency strategist at Scotiabank in Toronto. Analysts said the data will likely prompt the Bank of Canada to maintain a dovish stance. The central bank's policy shift late last year has dragged the loonie down as investors anticipate rates will stay low for longer. "For the Bank of Canada, when you look at wages, decelerating down to 2 percent pretty much reaffirms the bias that the Bank has about the low inflation backdrop, so that dovish tone from the Bank of Canada should persist," said Mazen Issa, macro strategist at TD Securities in Toronto. The Canadian dollar ended the North American session at C$1.0901 to the greenback, or 91.73 U.S. cents, weaker than Thursday's close of C$1.0852, or 92.15 U.S. cents. The loonie hit a session low of C$1.0946, its weakest level since October 2009. After the Canadian dollar suffered its worst year in 2013 since the financial crisis, investors have returned to 2014 expecting the currency to fall further out of favor. RBC's Chandler said that while much of the weakness is Canada's own doing, traders have overlooked some factors that could justify a stronger loonie. "The market has shrugged off commodity prices that have held up reasonably well through all this, and the notion that a good U.S. economy is good for Canada as well has gotten lost in the shuffle. For now we've seen weaker statistics dominate," Chandler said. The next level to watch for the U.S. dollar-Canadian dollar pairing will be C$1.10, Sutton said. "All in all, I think it's a story where U.S. dollar-Canadian dollar is likely to move higher over the next six months." Canadian government bond prices were higher across the maturity curve, with the two-year up 16.5 Canadian cents to yield 1.018 percent and the benchmark 10-year up C$1.00 to yield 2.559 percent.
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