* C$ touches high of C$1.0007 to the U.S. dollar
* Ends at C$1.0019 to the US$, or 99.81 U.S. cents
* Data shows trade surplus hit C$1.4 billion in February
* Bond prices fall on rate hike expectations
(Updates to close with bond details, quotes)
By Jennifer Kwan
TORONTO, April 13 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar ended
higher against the U.S. currency on Tuesday after stronger than
expected trade data reinforced the view that economic recovery
is progressing steadily.
A government report showed Canada posted a larger than
expected trade surplus of C$1.4 billion in February on
increased exports of industrial goods and materials. Analysts
had predicted Canada would run a surplus of C$600 million in
The trade data helped to lift the currency to its strongest
level of the North American session at C$1.0007 to the U.S.
dollar, or 99.93 U.S. cents, from about C$1.0031, or 99.69 U.S.
cents, just before the data's release.
The data showed the Canadian economy is recovering on a
broad front, said Doug Porter, deputy chief economist at BMO
"It's not just domestic spending. We're also seeing net
exports adding to growth. That would probably increase the
confidence in the Bank of Canada that the coast is clear for
them to start raising interest rates, whether the (U.S. Federal
Reserve) does or not, and whether the Canadian dollar remains
strong or not," he said.
"It does seem like the Canadian economy can sustain higher
The Canadian dollar <CAD=D3> finished at C$1.0019 to the
U.S. dollar, or 99.81 U.S. cents, up from Monday's close of
C$1.0033 to the U.S. dollar, or 99.67 U.S. cents.
The trade figures also supported comments made by Finance
Minister Jim Flaherty on Monday that the Canadian dollar's
ascent against the greenback has been "relatively orderly".
"It (the trade data) was positive from an export point of
view and it solidified what Flaherty was saying yesterday that
it's been a very orderly appreciation of the Canadian dollar
based on fundamentals," said David Bradley, director of foreign
exchange trading at Scotia Capital.
Still, the currency fell short of parity with the
"The market tested parity in the wake of the upbeat trade
numbers," said BMO's Porter. "It couldn't push through. It has
since retreated from that point. Obviously, there's a lot of
resistance at parity for the currency. It's seemingly having
difficulty breaking through that threshold on a sustained
On Monday, the Canadian dollar also came close to regaining
parity with the U.S. dollar after key Bank of Canada surveys
pointed to an upbeat business mood, enhancing the market notion
that the central bank would raise interest rates at midyear.
Apart from the spike after the trade figures, the Canadian
dollar had been largely drifted with changes in oil prices and
as investors continued to assess news of the big European
financial rescue package for Greece [ID:nLDE63A0BO], Bradley
In a volatile session, oil futures slipped on Tuesday to
settle at $84.05 a barrel, while gold prices were also softer.
Also on Tuesday, data showed the price of new homes in
Canada rose by 0.1 percent in February from January and by 0.9
percent from February 2009, slightly below market expectations.
BOND PRICES FALL
Canadian bond prices moved lower across the curve on
Tuesday as data again pointed to a reviving economy. [US/]
"The more positive data that comes out of Canada, we've
seen a lot of it recently ... it's moving the Bank of Canada's
likelihood of increasing rates forward," Bradley said.
The two-year government bond <CA2YT=RR> fell 9 Canadian
cents to C$99.25 to yield 1.907 percent, while the 10-year bond
<CA10YT=RR> dropped 22 Canadian cents to C$100.48 to yield
Canadian government bonds mostly underperformed U.S.
issues, with the Canadian two-year yield 86 basis points above
its U.S. counterpart, compared with around 82 basis points the
(Editing by Peter Galloway