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Thursday July 19, 2007 - 01:05:08 GMT
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Forex News - Canadian dollar ends down following inflation data

Canadian dollar ends down following inflation data

Wed Jul 18, 2007 5:24PM EDT

By Frank Pingue

TORONTO, July 18 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar finished lower against the U.S. currency on Wednesday as it took a hit from unexpectedly low inflation data that rattled expectations of further interest rate hikes by the Bank of Canada.

Canadian bond prices got a slight boost after the inflation data and the gains intensified after comments from U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke about the U.S. housing slump.

The Canadian dollar closed at C$1.0446 to the U.S. dollar, or 95.73 U.S. cents, down from C$1.0434 to the U.S. dollar, or 95.84 U.S. cents, at Tuesday's close, though comfortably above its session low.

During the overnight session the Canadian dollar had shot to a 30-year high versus the U.S. dollar of C$1.0400, or 96.15 U.S. cents, but it quickly reversed course after the inflation data landed.

A Statistics Canada report showed the overall inflation rate remained steady at 2.2 percent in June, which missed estimates and knocked the Canadian dollar back to C$1.0480, or 95.42 U.S. cents.

As the dust settled the currency managed to claw back a solid chunk of the losses as the market took comfort in the fact that the annual inflation rate remained above the Bank of Canada's 2 percent target, maintaining expectations the bank will raise rates again in September .

"After we got over the headline, we're still over the Bank of Canada's core comfort zone and one month is not going to change the Bank of Canada's mind," said Steve Butler, director of foreign exchange at Scotia Capital.

"We certainly do feel though that if we do see another month or two of weaker CPI then I think that people are going to start taking rate hikes off the table very quickly."

The Bank of Canada hiked its overnight rate by 25 basis points last week to 4.50 percent, its first increase since May 2006, and most analysts expect it to continue its tightening policy in September.

On top of other domestic data, the central bank will get to see one more inflation report on Aug. 21 before it delivers its next rate decision on Sept. 5.


Bond prices got an early boost as the inflation data missed estimates, but Bernanke's comments helped the market post one of its more sizable gains in recent memory.

The Fed chief warned that a slowdown in the U.S. housing market could last longer then anticipated.

"(The move) was related in part to some of the comments that Bernanke made about slower economic growth and the fact that the Fed is looking at a slower pace of growth than what it initially estimated in February," said Marc Levesque, chief fixed income strategist at TD Securities.

Another piece of domestic data that showed the leading indicator rose 0.2 percent in June, half of what was expected, did not have any noticeable effect on the bonds market.

The two-year bond rose 5 Canadian cents to C$98.38 to yield 4.667 percent, while the 10-year bond gained 16 Canadian cents to C$95.59 to yield 4.612 percent.

The yield spread between the two-year and 10-year bond moved to -5.5 basis points from -5.8 basis points at the previous close.

The 30-year bond increased 35 Canadian cents to C$118.30 to yield 4.540 percent. In the United States, the 30-year treasury yielded 5.126 percent.

The three-month when-issued T-bill yielded 4.51 percent, down from 4.53 percent at the previous close.

© Reuters 2006. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by caching, framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters and the Reuters sphere logo are registered trademarks and trademarks of the Reuters group of companies around the world.


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