* Canadian dollar closes at 93.46 U.S. cents
* Hits lowest level since Nov. 3 before rebounding
* Bonds rise sharply in safe haven bid
By Claire Sibonney
TORONTO, May 25 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar slumped to
its weakest level in almost seven months on Tuesday in a broad
global selloff of riskier assets, amid growing concern about
Europe's debt crisis and the prospect of a Korean military
Risk aversion dragged down global stocks, the price of oil
and commodity-linked currencies including the Canadian dollar,
which hit C$1.0854 to the U.S. dollar, or 92.13 U.S. cents, its
lowest level since Nov. 3. [MKTS/GLOB] [O/R] [FRX/]
Instead, investors flocked to the traditional safety of the
greenback, yen, Swiss franc and gold. [GOL/] [US/]
"It was part of the broader risk aversion theme that we saw
unfolding late yesterday in North American trading," said
Matthew Strauss, senior currency strategist at RBC Capital
"That whole push saw not only equities but also commodities
selling off quite aggressively and taking dollar/CAD above
But the Canadian dollar made up some ground after North
American stocks sharply cut losses to end near flat.
"We're starting to see aggressive moves in North American
trading and that could go either side."
The Canadian dollar closed Tuesday's session at C$1.0700 to
the U.S. dollar, or 93.46 U.S. cents, down sharply from
C$1.0593 to the U.S. dollar, or 94.40 U.S. cents, at Friday's
finish. Canadian financial markets were closed on Monday for
the Victoria Day holiday.
The euro fell to an 8-1/2-year low against the yen and
neared a four-year low versus the U.S. dollar after Spain's
weekend move to rescue the small CajaSur savings bank sparked
worries the euro zone sovereign debt crisis is spreading.
Meanwhile, North Korea said it was cutting all ties with
the South and threatened its wealthy neighbor with military
action over alleged violations of its waters off the west
"Korea probably played into the risk aversion theme but
without Europe it wouldn't have been such a significant issue,"
The volatility on financial markets brings into question
whether the Bank of Canada will start raising interest rates in
June. Its next scheduled policy setting is in a week's time.
Central bank rate hike expectations, reflected in yields on
overnight index swaps, have fallen hard from April 20 when the
Bank of Canada removed its conditional commitment to hold rates
at record lows until June.
At that point the market was pricing in more than a 90
percent chance of a June 1 hike, compared with about 45 percent
on Tuesday. <BOCWATCH>
"There are too many moving parts to suggest that the Bank
of Canada, at this point in time, is good to go," said Jack
Spitz, managing director of foreign exchange at National Bank
Currencies tend to strengthen as interest rates rise as
higher rates attract capital flows.
CANADIAN BONDS OUTPERFORM
With rate hike expectations in doubt, Canadian bond prices
rallied across the curve, despite U.S. Treasury issues giving
up gains as stocks mounted a late rebound. [US/]
Last week, a Reuters survey found all of Canada's primary
securities dealers still forecast a rate hike in June, but
cautioned the fallout from Europe's debt crisis means a rate
increase is not certain. [ID:nN21160493]
"The market is pretty much sitting on the fence," said
Bond prices tend to fall when interest rates go up as their
low-yielding fixed payments seem less lucrative compared with
rising yields on other investments and vice versa.
The two-year government bond <CA2YT=RR> jumped 5 Canadian
cents to C$99.81 yield 1.596 percent, while the 10-year bond
<CA10YT=RR> soared 86 Canadian cents to C$102.00 to yield 3.265
(Additional reporting by Ka Yan Ng; editing by Rob Wilson)
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