* C$ ends at C$1.0148 to the US$, or 98.54 U.S. cents
* Analysts say C$ moves in narrow range ahead of BoC
* Oil price drop weighs on Canadian currency
* Bond prices firmer
(Updates to close, adds quotes)
By Jennifer Kwan
TORONTO, April 19 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar softened
against its U.S. counterpart on Monday on lingering jitters
over the fraud case against Goldman Sachs <GS.N>, but the
currency moved in a narrow range a day ahead of the Bank of
Canada's rate announcement.
All 12 of Canada's primary dealers surveyed last week
expect the central bank to hold rates steady on Tuesday. But
market players are hesitant to make big moves one way or the
other before getting a fresh sense of the bank's direction, and
will closely scrutinize its accompanying policy statement for
hints of timing on the next rate hike.
The bank has conditionally pledged to keep its key rate at
its current ultra-low 0.25 percent level until the end of June
so long as inflation remains tame. [ID:nN15256700]
"The (Bank of Canada) is a factor that is keeping it in a
range a little bit here," said Camilla Sutton, a currency
strategist at Scotia Capital.
The Canadian dollar <CAD=D4> finished at C$1.0148 to the
U.S. dollar, or 98.54 U.S. cents, down from Friday's finish at
C$1.0132 to the U.S. dollar, or 98.70 U.S. cents.
A likely scenario on Tuesday is the Bank of Canada will
leave the door open for a rate hike in June or July, market
"The prospect of interest rates coming sooner could provide
a bit of a lift for the loonie because investors are drawn to
high interest rates," said Paul Ferley, assistant chief
economist at Royal Bank of Canada.
On the flip side, any hint the bank will maintain its
pledge may cause the Canadian currency to droop.
"You could get a little bit more of a down drift in the C$,
although my sense is the majority of opinion is still for a
move in July, so I think comments confirming that would
probably have less of an impact on the currency," said Ferley.
Earlier in the day, the Canadian currency fell as low as
C$1.0216 to the U.S. dollar, or 97.89 U.S. cents, its lowest
level since March 30, as investors scampered to traditional
Financial markets were hit by uncertainty and a new round
of risk-aversion after the U.S. Securities and Exchange
Commission charged Goldman Sachs Group with fraud on Friday.
As well, oil prices retreated, in part due to flying
restrictions in Europe cutting jet fuel demand, adding pressure
to the commodity-linked currency. [O/R]
Canadian bond prices were slightly higher, following moves
in the U.S. Treasury market, where prices got a lift from the
fallout from fraud charges against Goldman Sachs. [US/]
"You're just getting people getting a bit cautious. The
trend globally is sort of spilling over into Canadian markets,"
said RBC's Ferley.
The two-year government bond <CA2YT=RR> edged 7 Canadian
cents higher at C$99.39 to yield 1.834 percent, while the
10-year bond <CA10YT=RR> was up 25 Canadian cents higher at
C$100.75 to yield 3.653 percent.
Canadian government bonds mostly outperformed U.S. issues,
with the two-year yield 85 basis points above its U.S.
counterpart, compared with around 91 basis points the previous
Elsewhere, Ontario added C$750 million of 10-year bonds in
a reopening of an existing issue, according to a term sheet
seen by Reuters on Monday. [ID:nN19198105]
(Reporting by Jennifer Kwan; editing by Rob Wilson)