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Tuesday July 4, 2006 - 22:01:54 GMT
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Canadian dollar rises in quiet session, bonds slip

TORONTO, July 4 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar rose against the greenback on Tuesday in a muted session as U.S. markets were closed for Independence Day, while key data loomed at the end of the week.

Bond prices ended down as they adjusted to U.S. data released on Monday, when Canadian markets were closed for Canada Day.

The Canadian dollar closed at C$1.1068 to the U.S. dollar, or 90.35 U.S. cents, up from C$1.1162 to the U.S. dollar, or 89.59 U.S. cents, at Friday's North American close.

Some of the Canadian dollar's gain, exaggerated by light trading volume, was pegged to a drop in the U.S. dollar on Monday, when a survey showed manufacturing activity in the United States rose more slowly than expected in June.

But with key employment reports from both sides of the border due out on Friday, analysts were reluctant to attach much meaning to the currency's move.

"I think everybody in general is just waiting around to see how things are shaping up," said David Watt, economist at BMO Nesbitt Burns. "But markets are so thin that it's really hard to make a strong statement on what's driving markets today."

Friday's Canadian job numbers for June will be closely watched as they mark the last piece of significant data the Bank of Canada will consider ahead of its monetary policy announcement on July 11.

Canada's central bank has tried to tone down expectations that it will raise interest rates next week, saying it is sticking with the economic outlook it issued in April despite a string of strong economic figures.

The Bank of Canada's overnight rate is at 4.25 percent, while the U.S. fed funds rate is at 5.25 percent after a 17th consecutive increase last week.

And even though oil and gold prices drifted on Tuesday, demand for commodities is expected to stay strong, a scenario that bodes well for the Canadian dollar.

"Things don't actually look that bad for many of the commodity currencies... Canada just looks attractive in general and I think the Canadian dollar is reflecting some of this strength," Watt said.

"Although the move seems to be exaggerated, I think that the direction is generally correct."


Canadian bond prices dipped a little, playing catch-up to Monday's drop in U.S. Treasury prices amid perceptions the underlying components of the U.S. June manufacturing report were stronger than the overall figure suggested.

Expectations that the Bank of Canada will raise rates next week may have also put pressure on prices.

But dealers were largely biding time until the data stream picks up later in the week, most notably the June jobs report on Friday. A record 96,700 jobs were added in Canada in May.

"Nobody wants to take a big bet because the Bank of Canada will be meeting a few days after that," Watt said. "(Bank of Canada Governor) Dodge says he's not swayed by one data piece, but if this one stays strong that will be a few data pieces that he can't ignore."

The two-year bond slipped 4 Canadian cents to C$98.77 to yield 4.428 percent, while the 10-year bond fell 20 Canadian cents to C$99.18 to yield 4.613 percent.

The yield spread between the two-year and 10-year bond was 18.5 basis points, up from 18.0 at the previous close.

The 30-year bond dropped 43 Canadian cents to C$116.92 to yield 4.642 percent. In the United States, the 30-year treasury yielded 5.204 percent.

The three-month when-issued T-bill yielded 4.33 percent, up from 4.32 percent at the previous close.


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