CANADA FX DEBT-C$ a touch firmer as Bank of Canada, oil keeps moves in check
(Adds analyst comment, closing figures, details) * Canadian dollar at C$1.1233 or 89.02 U.S. cents * Bond prices lower across the maturity curve By Solarina Ho TORONTO, Oct 23 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar was marginally stronger against its U.S. counterpart on Thursday, following Wednesday's volatility on disappointing economic data and a mixed message from the Bank of Canada. The currency touched its weakest level on Wednesday after unexpectedly soft retail sales data, but quickly strengthened to its firmest level of the session after the Bank of Canada dropped its reference to neutrality in its rate statement. Investors were unable to get clarity from the Bank of Canada when a scheduled press conference was canceled after a gunman shot dead a soldier at the Canadian War Memorial in Ottawa and gunfire erupted inside parliament, near a room where Prime Minister Stephen Harper was speaking. "CAD's really just held fairly tight throughout the entire session ... We have oil prices, which even though they're higher on the day, are still fairly suppressed," said Camilla Sutton, chief currency strategist at Scotiabank. "And we had yesterday's conflicted (message) between a somewhat hawkish statement and a more dovish (monetary policy report), and the absence of a press conference." The Canadian dollar, which was among the strongest performing currencies, closed at C$1.1233 to the greenback, or 89.02 U.S. cents, only slightly firmer than Wednesday finish at C$1.1243, or 88.94 U.S. cents. Investors had widely expected the central bank to hold its key interest rate at 1 percent, which it did, and to maintain a neutral to dovish cautious tone in its monetary policy report. After abandoning the "neutral" reference, market participants were hoping to glean additional details on the Bank of Canada's intentions and overall outlook. Canadian government bond prices were lower across the maturity curve, with the two-year off 4.5 Canadian cents to yield 1.008 percent and the benchmark 10-year shedding 36 Canadian cents to yield 2 percent. (Editing by Nick Zieminski and Grant McCool)
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