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Thursday July 5, 2007 - 21:14:04 GMT
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FOREX NEWS - Canada dollar lifted by oil, data, bonds fall

Canada dollar lifted by oil, data, bonds fall
Thu Jul 5, 2007 4:49PM EDT

By John McCrank

TORONTO, July 5 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar edged higher versus the greenback for a third straight session on Thursday, lifted by surging oil prices and strong economic data.

Bond prices were lower due to the strong data and expectations of a rate increase by the Bank of Canada next Tuesday.

The currency closed the North American session at C$1.0567 to the U.S. dollar, or 94.63 U.S. cents, up from C$1.0590, or 94.46 U.S. cents, at Wednesday's close.

"Commodity markets, energy markets, stable economics and finiancial flows are all supportive of the Canadian dollar now and going forward," said Jack Spitz, director of foreign exchange at National Bank Financial.

Robust oil prices continue to buoy the Canadian currency, as the country is a major oil and gas exporter. London Brent crude flirted with the $75 a barrel mark as fresh violence in Nigeria added to supply concerns for the U.S. summer driving season.

In Canada, May building permits released on Thursday were higher than expected, which supported the currency, as did the Ivey Purchasing Managers Index, which rose in June.

Statistics Canada said building permits increased by 21.4 percent, mostly due to plans for new office space in Calgary, Alberta, and Vancouver, British Columbia. Analysts had expected a 5.6 percent gain.

That data were supported by the quarterly Royal LePage Real Estate Services report, which said the Canadian housing market continued its "astounding" momentum in the second quarter.

Friday's June jobs report will be the last major piece of Canadian economic data ahead of Tuesday's Bank of Canada interest rate announcement. Analysts expect, on average, a gain of 17,000 jobs with the unemployment rate unchanged at 6.1 percent.

Strong economic figures south of the border kept the Canadian dollar from making larger gains on its U.S. counterpart.

The Canadian dollar spent the session in a tight range ofaround C$1.0593 to C$1.0555.

"Tomorrow we will see a breaking out of the range," Spitz said. "One would expect to see a stronger Canada, based on what will more than likely be better-than-expected payroll data."

Meanwhile, in Europe on Thursday, the Bank of England raised rates by 25 basis points, as expected, to 5.75 percent, and signaled further tightening in the future.

The European Central Bank held rates steady but suggested it would raise borrowing costs in the future.

BOND PRICES LOWER

Bond prices ended lower on the economic data and expectations of a Bank of Canada interest rate hike.

The Bank of Canada is widely expected to raise its key overnight rate by 25 basis points on Tuesday, and some believe another increase is in the cards for September.

"As the market adjusts to the prospects of rates moving higher in Canada, it's contributing to some upward pressure inthe bond yield," said Paul Ferley, assistant chief economist at Royal Bank of Canada.

Bond yields move in the opposite direction of bond prices.

The two-year bond was down 9 Canadian cents at C$98.34 to yield 4.674 percent, while the 10-year bond fell 43 Canadian cents to C$95.35 to yield 4.643 percent.

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