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Thursday July 12, 2007 - 21:34:40 GMT
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Forex News - Canadian dollar shoots higher on Alcan, data

Canadian dollar shoots higher on Alcan, data
Thu Jul 12, 2007 5:29PM EDT

By Frank Pingue

TORONTO, July 12 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar shot to a
higher close versus the U.S. currency on Thursday, bolstered by
a massive takeover offer for Alcan Inc. (AL.TO: Quote, Profile, Research) and another
wave of upbeat domestic data.

Bond prices retreated for the second straight day as North
American equity markets posted sharp gains, including a record
high for Toronto's main stock index.

The Canadian dollar closed at C$1.0455 to the U.S. dollar,
or 95.65 U.S. cents, up from C$1.0538, or 94.89 U.S. cents, at
Wednesday's close.

With the gain of nearly 1 U.S. cent, the Canadian dollar is
back within spitting distance of the 30-year high of C$1.0444,
or 95.75 U.S. cents, it reached on Monday.

The currency, which has drawn strong support from
merger-related interest in the past year, got another jolt in
the overnight session as Rio Tinto (RIO.L: Quote, Profile, Research) said it agreed to
buy Alcan in a friendly $38.1 billion deal.

"That was definitely a major supportive factor as well as
the U.S. dollar itself remains weak, burdened by continuing
concern about the subprime mess," said Doug Porter, deputy
chief economist at BMO Capital Markets.

Concerns about the high-risk U.S. subprime mortgage market
have acted like an anchor on the greenback recently, while a
dose of upbeat data added to the bullish tone surrounding the
Canadian dollar.

Early morning data showed Canada's trade surplus in May was
C$5.9 billion, which beat expectations, while new homes prices
rose 1.1 percent in May and also topped estimates. The numbers
added to a long line of domestic data this year that has
managed to consistently top expectations.

The Bank of Canada's Monetary Policy Report update, which
followed its quarter-point rate hike on Tuesday and a statement
that was less hawkish than expected, did not trigger any sharp
moves by the Canadian dollar.

During the 40-minute media availability that followed the
release of the MPR update, the Canadian dollar stuck to a range
of about C$1.0464 to C$1.0476.

"I thought certainly the broad strokes were almost
identical," said Porter. "While I don't think anyone had a big
change of heart it seems that at the margin people saw it
shaded a bit on the hawkish side, but I didn't personally see
any big change in tone from Tuesday."

Governor David Dodge said economic growth and inflation
were heating up faster than the bank had predicted but he said
the rise in the Canadian dollar would help cool the economy.


Canadian bond prices, which have been in a funk over recent
months, buckled in the face of strong domestic data and the
meaty gains in North American equity markets.

The S&P/TSX composite index (.GSPTSE: Quote, Profile, Research) used the Alcan news
to reach a record high, while the Dow Jones industrial average
(.DJI: Quote, Profile, Research) posted a gain of more than 280 points.

"It's partly the enormous strength we saw in North American
equities today," said Porter, who also credited the strong
Canadian data and a slightly hawkish interpretation of the
bank's MPR by some for knocking bond prices lower.

Canada's two-year bond dropped 5 Canadian cents to C$98.35
to yield 4.677 percent, while the 10-year bond fell 40 Canadian
cents to C$95.16 to yield 4.672 percent.

The yield spread between the two-year and 10-year bond
narrowed to -0.5 basis points from -2.5 basis points at the
previous close.

The 30-year bond slid 85 Canadian cents to C$117.15 to
yield 4.608 percent. In the United States, the 30-year treasury
yielded 5.232 percent.

The three-month when-issued T-bill yielded 4.53 percent,
unchanged from the previous close.

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