CANADA FX DEBT-C$ flat as inflation offsets retail sales data
* Canadian dollar at C$1.0945 or 91.37 U.S. cents * Bond prices mixed across the maturity curve (Adds details, quotes, updates prices) By Leah Schnurr TORONTO, Aug 22 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar was flat against the greenback on Friday as a surprisingly strong domestic retail sales report was tempered by data showing a softer-than-expected annual inflation rate. The market saw little reaction to the other highly anticipated event of the day, a speech from Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, which analysts said contained few surprises. Canada's annual inflation rate slipped to 2.1 percent in July, while retail sales rose 1.1 percent in June, making for the sixth straight month of gains. Even with the decline, the inflation rate remained above the Bank of Canada's 2 percent target. With the central bank concerned about the downside risks to inflation, the report is closely watched by investors trying to glean the future path of monetary policy. The loonie hit a session low at C$1.0982 immediately following the reports but was able to claw back those losses. While the currency has seen some intraday swings, it has largely traded in a band since the end of July. Analysts expect it will be difficult for the loonie to make significant gains, with investors likely to continue to favor the U.S. dollar. "It's looking like we are going to be pretty range-bound," said Ken Wills, currency strategist and broker at CanadianForex in Toronto. "It's the end of the summer doldrums as well, I don't think anybody has an appetite to take it out of this C$1.0850 to C$1.0980." The Canadian dollar ended the North American session at C$1.0945 to the greenback, or 91.37 U.S. cents, unchanged from Thursday's close. For the week, the loonie slipped 0.5 percent. Speaking at the annual gathering in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Yellen called for a "pragmatic" approach to U.S. monetary policy, laying out why the U.S. central bank needed to move cautiously on raising rates. "I would call it a very hedged commentary," said Wills. "It was almost neutral but still had all the dovish elements I think the market had priced in and I believe that's why we've seen very little movement." Canadian government bond prices were mixed across the maturity curve, with the two-year off 1 Canadian cent to yield 1.094 percent and the benchmark 10-year up 9 Canadian cents to yield 2.075 percent. (Editing by James Dalgleish)
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