* C$ higher at 95.01 U.S. cents
* Bonds higher across the curve
(Updates to close, adds quotes, details)
By Claire Sibonney
TORONTO, Feb 26 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar perked up
against the U.S. currency on Friday after stronger than
expected U.S. GDP data encouraged investments in riskier assets
at the expense of the greenback.
U.S. gross domestic product grew faster than initially
thought in the fourth quarter as businesses drew down
inventories at a much slower pace and boosted investment.
That, along with robust business activity figures in the
U.S. Midwest, suggested a more solid footing for the world's
largest economy, enticing investors to venture outside the safe
haven offered by the U.S. dollar. [ID:nN26182315]
The data offset any negative sentiment on the Canadian
dollar stirred up by Friday's data on Canada's current account
and budget deficits, as well as an unexpected plunge in U.S.
existing home sales and weak U.S. consumer sentiment.
"After all that data on both sides of the border we're left
with the same trends we had even before the release of the
data, so the market is looking to add risk to portfolios," said
Camilla Sutton, currency strategist at Scotia Capital.
Also supporting Canada's commodity-linked currency, oil
prices jumped 2 percent to near $80 a barrel as the upward
revision in U.S. GDP helped revive lackluster sentiment, while
gold rose more than 1 percent. [O/R][GOL/]
The highlight for the market next week with be the Bank of
Canada's interest rate announcement on Tuesday.
Most of Canada's primary securities dealers expect the
central bank will maintain its conditional vow to keep its key
interest rate at the current near-zero level until at least
But Sutton said even a hint of central bank hawkishness
could boost the Canadian dollar.
"The potential is the market is underpricing the chance
that the Bank of Canada sounds slightly more hawkish that they
did at the January meeting," she said.
"No interest rate change but they could slightly shift the
tone of their statement and since January we've had very good
data, firmer than expected inflation, and the Canadian dollar
hasn't strengthened at all. In fact it's weakened."
The Canadian dollar closed at C$1.0525, or 95.01 U.S.
cents, up from Thursday's close at C$1.0593, or 94.40 U.S.
BONDS UP ON SOUR DATA
Canadian bond prices were higher across the curve,
following U.S. Treasuries, which fell after news that U.S. home
sales plunged in January and consumer sentiment slipped in
February reinforced expectations for subdued economic growth
this year. [US/]
The two-year Canadian government bond <CA2YT=RR> gained 15
Canadian cents at C$100.430 to yield 1.281 percent, while the
10-year bond <CA10YT=RR> added 8 Canadian cents to C$102.850 to
yield 3.388 percent.
Canadian bonds lagged their U.S. counterparts at the long
end of the curve, with the difference between 10-year yields
narrowing more than 1 basis point to 22.2 from 23.3 on
In short-term issue news, the Bank of Canada said its C$2
billion auction of 34-day T-bills due April 1 produced an
average yield of 0.181 percent.
(Reporting by Claire Sibonney; editing by Peter Galloway)