June 22, 2009 / 8:56 PM / in 8 years

CANADA FX DEBT-Recovery doubts knock C$, push bonds higher

* C$ falls to lowest level since May 20

* Bonds push higher in flight to safety

* World Bank, OECD outlooks weigh (Adds details)

By Ka Yan Ng

TORONTO, June 22 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar fell to its lowest level against the broadly firmer U.S. currency in nearly five weeks on Monday, pressured by the world economic recovery outlook and a rout in equity and commodity markets.

World stocks tumbled as caution ahead of this week’s data and the U.S. Federal Reserve meeting weighed on assets seen as riskier, as did a dispiriting economic outlook from the World Bank and Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. [ID:nSP494174]

Toronto’s main equity index slumped more than 4 percent on lower commodity prices. Movements in stock markets are typically a gauge of investors’ appetite for risk, particularly for the commodity-linked Canadian dollar. The price of oil, a key Canadian export, fell below $67 a barrel. [ID:nSYD456749]

The Canadian dollar finished at C$1.1526 to the U.S. dollar, or 86.76 U.S. cents, down sharply from C$1.1351 to the U.S. dollar, or 88.10 U.S. cents at Friday’s close.

“We saw just a classic sharp drop in risk appetite across global markets today, across stocks, commodities, some of the non-U.S. dollar currencies, right back into Treasuries and the U.S. dollar,” said Doug Porter, deputy chief economist at BMO Capital Markets.

At one point, the currency dropped to C$1.1557 to the U.S. dollar, or 86.53 U.S. cents, its weakest level since May 20, steadily falling throughout the session from the overnight high at C$1.1358 to the U.S. dollar, or 88.04 U.S. cents.

The move was in line with other commodity-linked currencies, such as the Australian and New Zealand dollars, which also succumbed to worries about global growth prospects. [ID:nN22499122]

“We’re starting the week again with risk aversion as the dominant theme. As a result, you have U.S. dollar strength and your commodity-based currencies under significant pressure,” said Matthew Strauss, senior currency strategist RBC Capital Markets.

BONDS HIGHER

Canadian bond prices drove higher in a flight-to-safety bid in response to tumbling equity markets and renewed gloominess on the world economy.

“We’ve seen some investor concern about just how strong the recovery is going to be, just when is the recovery going to come, and how much further commodity prices have to run,” said Porter.

The benchmark two-year government bond rose 10 Canadian cents to C$100.03 to yield 1.237 percent, while the 10-year bond gained 73 Canadian cents to C$102.63 to yield 3.435 percent.

The 30-year bond advanced C$1.25 to C$118.50 to yield 3.906 percent. The comparable U.S. issue yielded 4.449 percent.

Canadian bonds outperformed U.S. Treasuries across most of the curve, except in the two-year sector. The Canadian 30-year bond was 54.3 basis points below the U.S. 30-year yield, compared with about 53.4 basis points below on Friday. (Reporting by Ka Yan Ng and Jennifer Kwan; Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson)

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