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Friday August 22, 2008 - 22:23:34 GMT
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Forex Market News - Canada dollar falls as oil prices ease, bonds drop

Fri Aug 22, 2008 4:29pm EDT

* Turnaround in oil prices blamed for currency's slide

* Canadian dollar ends week with gain of 1 percent

* Bond prices drop alongside U.S. Treasury market

By Frank Pingue

TORONTO, Aug 22 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar ended lower against the U.S. dollar on Friday, given a weaker commodity price backdrop, but the big gains it made on Thursday were enough to allow it to close higher for the week.

Domestic bond prices, with no economic data to trigger a move, finished lower across the curve alongside the bigger U.S. Treasury market as U.S. stocks rose sharply.

The Canadian dollar closed at C$1.0486 to the U.S. dollar, or 95.37 U.S. cents, down from C$1.0440 to the U.S. dollar, or 95.79 U.S. cents, at Thursday's close.

For the week, the currency rose 1 percent, thanks to Thursday's gain of more than 1 U.S. cent as oil prices rose while inflation data did little to support the idea of an interest rate cut by the Bank of Canada any time soon.

In the week's final session, the Canadian dollar was rattled by the sort of commodities pullback that tends to weigh on currencies of countries like Canada that are major exporters of oil and gold.

"I was surprised with the resiliency of the Canadian dollar to the U.S. dollar given what's going on with oil prices," said David Watt, senior economist at RBC Capital Markets. "Most of the day, given what's going on with other currencies, I think the Canadian dollar's done spectacularly well."

The losses for the Canadian dollar were mainly contained to the greenback as it managed to make sizable gains versus most overseas currencies, including the pound sterling, the Australian and New Zealand dollars, and the yen.

The Canadian dollar's gains versus those currencies were due largely to greater concerns about deteriorating economies overseas, which may force central banks there to come off the sidelines and start cutting interest rates.

Bank of Canada Deputy Governor David Longworth will give a speech on Tuesday in Kingston, Ontario, which marks the bank's last scheduled remarks before its Sept. 3 rate announcement.

But the focus next week will rest on the key second-quarter gross domestic product data on Friday, which follows a shrinkage in the first quarter. A recession is defined as two consecutive quarters of contraction in gross domestic product.

BOND PRICES DROP

Bond prices all finished lower as the lack of any domestic data and a surge in U.S. stocks dampened investor demand for more secure assets like government debt.

The U.S. Treasury market, which often dictates direction north of the border when there is no domestic news, fell after Warren Buffet, head of Berkshire Hathaway (BRKa.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), told CNBC television that stocks are more attractive than a year ago.

Also, hopes that Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc (LEH.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), the fourth-largest U.S. investment bank, might attract a major investor, helped lift U.S. equities by well over 1 percent.

"It's all U.S.-related," said Carlos Leitao, chief economist at Laurentian Bank of Canada in Montreal.

The two-year bond dropped 17 Canadian cents to C$99.59 to yield 2.938 percent. The 10-year bond fell 15 Canadian cents to C$105.20 to yield 3.612 percent.

The yield spread between the two-year and 10-year bond was 63.4 basis points, down from 71.2 at the previous close.

The 30-year bond dropped 14 Canadian cents to C$115.96 for a yield of 4.054 percent. In the United States, the 30-year treasury yielded 4.467 percent.

The three-month when-issued T-bill yielded 2.52 percent, up from 2.49 percent at the previous close.

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