Tuesday January 29, 2008 - 22:29:01 GMT
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Reuters - www.reuters.com
Forex Market News - Canadian dollar back above US$ parity, eyes on Fed
By John McCrank
TORONTO, Jan 29 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar shot back
above par with the U.S. dollar on Tuesday, supported by firmer
commodity prices, expectations of an increasingly favorable
U.S.-Canada interest rate spread, and calmer equities markets.
Canadian bond prices fell as investors positioned
themselves ahead of Wednesday's U.S. Federal Open Market
Committee interest rate decision.
The Canadian currency closed the North American session at
US$1.0005, valuing a U.S. dollar at 99.95 Canadian cents, up
from C$1.0044 to the U.S. dollar, or 99.56 U.S. cents, at
Rising oil prices in the overnight session helped float the
commodity-influenced Canadian unit above par.
That triggered some technical buying, which pushed it up to
US$1.0055, valuing a U.S. dollar at 99.45 Canadian cents, the
Canadian currency's highest level since Jan 4.
The Canadian dollar has most likely settled into a holding
pattern ahead of the Fed interest rate decision on Wednesday,
said Matthew Strauss, senior currency strategist at RBC Capital
The Fed is widely expected to cut its key lending rate by
half-a-percentage point, bringing the fed funds rate to 3
percent as it tries to bolster the U.S. economy.
The Bank of Canada's key lending rate is at 4 percent.
Most U.S. economic data lately has pointed to a serious
downturn in the U.S. economy, prompting some market analysts to
declare that the U.S. is in a recession.
Further cuts to the fed funds rate would stimulate growth
by encouraging domestic spending, but it would make the
greenback less attractive to investors.
The Fed has already cut interest rates by 125 basis points
since September, including a 75-basis-point emergency cut last
Since that aggressive move, the Canadian dollar has gained
3.3 percent against the greenback.
The growing interest rate spread is the primary cause of
the stronger Canadian dollar, Strauss said.
He also noted that the Fed's actions will benefit the
Canadian economy indirectly and that is also boosting the bid
for the Canadian dollar.
"If the U.S. economy is not going to fall into recession,
or if its only going to be a mild, brief recession, that would
help the Canadian economy quite significantly, from the
perspective that, given the strong domestic momentum, the
(Canadian) economy could continue growing closer to 2 percent
rather than 1 percent."
Exports make up around 40 percent of the Canadian economy
and the U.S. absorbs around 75 percent of Canadian exports.
The Fed expectations also acted to inject some stability to
the recently volatile stock markets, which are being viewed as
a barometer for the health of the global economy.
Canadian bond prices slid as investors positioned
themselves ahead of Wednesday's Fed announcement.
Another factor in the declining prices was the calm in the
stock markets, which took away the flight to quality bid for
government debt, said Sheldon Dong, fixed income analyst with
TD Waterhouse Private Investment.
The latest piece of domestic data showed manufacturers in
Canada reported the bleakest outlook on production since 2002
given the lofty Canadian dollar, high oil prices and a slowdown
in the U.S. economy.
The two-year bond fell 17 Canadian cents to C$101.69 to
yield 3.292 percent. The 10-year bond slid 52 Canadian cents at
C$100.71 to yield 3.907 percent.
The yield spread between the two-year and 10-year bond was
61.5 basis points, down from 63.7 points at the previous
The 30-year bond slipped 68 Canadian cents to C$113.80 to
yield 4.179 percent. In the United States, the 30-year Treasury
yielded 4.360 percent.
The three-month when-issued T-bill yielded 3.40 percent,
down from 3.41 percent at the previous close.
(Editing by Peter Galloway)
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