* C$ ends a touch higher at 97.58 U.S. cents
* Bond prices flat to higher across curve
* Bank of Canada announces 10 auctions for the quarter
(Adds details throughout, updates prices)
TORONTO, March 25 (Reuters) - Canada's dollar ended a touch
higher against the U.S. currency on Thursday as concerns over a
framework to resolve Greece's debt woes offset a growing
conviction that Canadian interest rates could rise sooner than
Under a draft agreement drawn up on Thursday, the euro zone
and the International Monetary Fund would share the burden of
providing financial aid for Greece should Athens request help.
The deal failed to ease concerns about the deepest crisis
in the euro zone's history, pushing the euro to a 10-month low
against the greenback and pressuring other riskier assets.
[FRX/] The stronger U.S. dollar also uncut support for its
"The market is skeptical, and until they see some real
concrete evidence, they're going to continue selling the euro
and that is taking risk off the table," said John Curran,
senior vice president at CanadianForex, a commercial foreign
exchange dealing firm.
The Canadian dollar finished at C$1.0248 to the U.S.
dollar, or 97.58 U.S. cents, up slightly from Wednesday's
finish at C$1.0253 to the U.S. dollar, or 97.53 U.S. cents.
The Canadian currency had risen as high as C$1.0170 to the
U.S. dollar, or 98.33 U.S. cents. It rode higher on the
momentum from rising commodity prices and a speech on Wednesday
by Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney that some interpreted as
slightly more hawkish on raising interest rates.
Later Thursday, prices for oil, an important Canadian
export, turned negative. The drop came after the European
Central Bank president said that, if the IMF took
responsibility for bailing out Greece, it would send a negative
message about the euro zone's ability to deal with the crisis.
With no major market moving data on tap in Canada, bond
prices were flat to higher across the curve, outperforming
their U.S. counterparts, which saw prices fall as demand for
Treasuries waned for the third day in a row. [US/]
The Bank of Canada said on Thursday it will hold 10 bond
auctions, including one real return issue, in the April-June
quarter. It also said no operations are planned under the
Government of Canada bond repurchase or switch programs.
Eric Lascelles, chief canada macro strategist at TD
Securities, said the auction schedule was relatively in line
with expectations, with the federal government indicating in
its budget it sees C$95 billion in bond issuance this fiscal
He noted the lack of switch buybacks, a type of operation
to maintain liquidity, has likely reached its goal for now.
"It's like spring cleaning. They've managed to do a lot
cleaning in past quarters and so it might just be the case that
they getting to a point where they are reasonably comfortable
with what they got," said Lascelles.
The two-year government bond <CA2YT=RR> was up 1 Canadian
cent at C$99.64 to yield 1.693 percent, while the 10-year bond
<CA10YT=RR> edged 4 Canadian cents higher at C$101.60 to yield
Canadian bonds outperformed their U.S. counterparts. The
difference between 10-year yields widened 3.2 basis points to
33.9 basis points.
(Reporting by Ka Yan Ng)