February 15, 2019 / 9:55 PM / 7 months ago

CANADA FX DEBT-C$ rises as Warren Buffett takes stake in Canada's oil patch

 (Adds strategist quotes and details throughout, updates prices)
    * Canadian dollar rises 0.4 percent against the greenback
    * For the week, the loonie climbs 0.3 percent 
    * Price of U.S. oil rises 2.2 percent
    * Canadian home sales rise 3.6 percent in January
    * Canadian bond prices fall across the yield curve

    By Fergal Smith
    TORONTO, Feb 15 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar rallied
against the greenback on Friday as domestic data eased fears
about a weak housing market and after a bet by Warren Buffett on
one of Canada's major energy companies that could boost
sentiment in the country's oil patch.
    Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc          said on
Thursday it had taken a fresh stake in Suncor Energy Inc        
for the second time in about six years, sending the company's
shares nearly four percent higher on Friday. 
    "Warren Buffett planting his flag in the Canadian oil patch
is a promising sign that we may have reached a bottom in
Canadian energy," said Adam Button, chief currency analyst at
ForexLive.
    The Bank of Canada expected in January investment in the
energy sector to contract because of low oil prices and
production curtailments in Alberta, as it signaled the pace of
future interest rate hikes could be more gradual.             
    The central bank also worried about a weak housing market,
after activity slowed at the end of 2018.
    Data on Friday from the Canadian Real Estate Association
showed home sales in January remained below levels posted one
year ago, but that activity rose 3.6 percent from December.
            
    The housing data was better than expected and "calmed the
nerves" of investors, Button said.
    At 3:56 p.m. EST (2056 GMT), the Canadian dollar         
was trading 0.4 percent higher at 1.3246 to the greenback, or
75.49 U.S. cents.
    The currency on Thursday touched its weakest intraday level
in nearly three weeks at 1.3340, but still finished the week up
0.3 percent.
    Gains for the loonie came as stocks were boosted by rising
hopes the United States and China can hammer out an agreement
resolving their protracted trade war.             
    Canada is a major producer of commodities, including oil, so
its economy could benefit from reduced global economic
uncertainty.
    U.S. crude oil futures        settled 2.2 percent higher at
$55.59 a barrel as this week's announcement of a
higher-than-expected supply cut by Saudi Arabia encouraged
investors.                 
    Data from Statistics Canada showed foreign investors sold a
net C$18.96 billion in Canadian securities in December, led by a
record divestment in bonds. This was the highest divestment
since October 2007.             
    Canadian government bond prices were lower across the yield
curve in sympathy with U.S. Treasuries. The 10-year            
fell 16 Canadian cents to yield 1.895 percent.
    Canada's bond market will be closed on Monday for the Family
Day holiday.

 (Reporting by Fergal Smith
Editing by Chris Reese)
  
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