* C$ dips to 94.13 U.S. cents
* Risk aversion back on after euro zone fears
* Bonds lower ahead of Friday jobs data
By Claire Sibonney
TORONTO, Feb 3 (Reuters) - Canada's currency dropped after
hitting a one-week high against the U.S. dollar on Wednesday as
fresh credit worries that hit smaller euro zone countries
curbed risk appetite.
After investors digested news that the European Commission
backed a Greek deficit-cutting plan, as expected, long-term
concerns emerged that Greece is not an isolated case.
A sell-off in peripheral euro zone government bonds from
the likes of Italy, Portugal and Spain put pressure on the euro
itself, boosting the dollar as a safe-haven asset, and pushing
other currencies down.
"The market's been really focused on ongoing sovereign risk
in the euro zone and who comes next -- will it be Spain or
Portugal -- and how much risk that poses," said Camilla Sutton,
currency strategist for Scotia Capital.
Sutton also points to slightly lower-than-expected
expansion in the U.S. services sector that weighed on the
"That was really the straw that broke the camel's back so I
think risk appetite was fairly favorable until then and that
was the beginning of the change of sentiment in the markets,"
The Canadian dollar finished the North American session at
C$1.0624, or 94.13 U.S. cents. On Tuesday, it closed at
C$1.0581, or 94.51 U.S. cents.
The Canadian dollar rose as high as C$1.0546 to the U.S.
dollar, or 94.82 U.S. cents, after a private employment service
report on Wednesday reinforced expectations that this Friday's
U.S. non-farm payrolls report could show job growth.
In Canada, the employment situation has stopped
deteriorating over the past several months but has not
necessarily shown signs of firm growth, with monthly results
unpredictable and choppy. Economists expect a net gain of
15,000 jobs for January. [ID:nN01230910] <ECONCA>
Commodities also dropped as risk aversion increased, with
oil falling below $77 a barrel at one point after data showed
U.S. crude inventories in the United States rose more than
"Oil's lower than where it opened up in the North American
session so that's generally weighing on commodity currencies
including Canada," said Sutton.
More broadly, the currency has been trading in a C$1.0460
to C$1.0750 range for the past two weeks, and market players
are zeroing in on this Friday's jobs reports as a potential
catalyst for change.
"That's really the current range for dollar/Canada as the
market vacillates between risk-on and risk-off," said Jack
Spitz, managing director of foreign exchange at National Bank
"All things being equal, the breakout happens in tandem
with the payroll numbers on Friday."
That said, a Reuters poll showed the Canadian dollar's
roller-coaster ride is expected to end this year, with
forecasts of minimal moves ahead after three years of jerky ups
and downs. [ID:nN03183505]
FIRM DEMAND AT AUCTION
Canadian bonds were lower across the curve, mirroring U.S.
Treasuries, as risk appetite could return ahead of the
positively anticipated jobs data.
The two-year bond <CA2YT=RR> was off 9 Canadian cents at
C$100.34 to yield 1.332 percent, while the 10-year bond
<CA10YT=RR> fell 42 Canadian cents to C$102.55 to yield 3.428
Still, Canada's 10-year government bond auction met with
strong demand on Wednesday as investors cautious about the pace
of economic recovery flocked to the safety of government debt.
"There seems to be a very high comfort level with Canadian
bonds on the international stage, particularly at the long end,
simply because Canada doesn't have the same bond supply
problems or inflation fears that other countries do," said Eric
Lascelles, chief economics and rates strategist at TD
(Reporting by Claire Sibonney; Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson