By John McCrank
TORONTO, Aug 17 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar soared
against the greenback on Friday after the U.S. Federal Reserve
cut the rate at which it lends banks money and warned that
risks to economic growth had increased "appreciably".
Canadian bond prices were higher on the short end, but
slightly lower on the long end as the likelihood for a Fed
interest rate cut at its September policy meeting increased.
The Canadian dollar ended at C$1.0614 to the U.S. dollar,
or 94.21 U.S. cents, up from C$1.0753 to the U.S. dollar, or
92.99 U.S. cents, at Thursday's close. It leaped as high as
C$1.0555 to the U.S. dollar, or 94.74 U.S. cents, after the Fed
The Fed cut its discount rate, which governs direct loans
from the central bank to commercial banks, by 50 basis points,
to 5.75 percent.
The move added more liquidity to the financial system and
it added some stability to the volatile equities markets.
That, in turn, helped the Canadian dollar.
"Canada has been a star performer today," said Jack Spitz,
director of foreign exchange at National Bank Financial.
"The flows in currencyland are by-and-large being
influenced by the equity markets and the aversion of risk
tolerance that seems to creep in."
Spitz said the strong performance of the Canadian dollar on
Friday suggests that as long as the equities market continues
to stay fairly steady, the Canadian dollar should probe higher,
towards C$1.05 to the U.S. dollar.
The Bank of Canada declined to comment on the Fed rate cut.
"We do not comment on actions of other central banks,"
spokesman Jeremy Harrison said.
"We are monitoring financial market developments closely,
and any additional announcement will be made public through the
bank's Web site."
Looking ahead to economic data, Tuesday will be busy, with
the composite leading indicator for July, and retail trade data
for June, but consumer price index data for July, also on
Tuesday, will be the star attraction.
"I think (Bank of Canada Governor David) Dodge really sees
himself as an inflation fighter and I think the numbers that
come out from a core inflationary standpoint will go a long way
in appraising whether or not the Bank of Canada is prepared to
move into a hike or a cut or stability," said National Bank
"I would tend to think that the market volatility will keep
them stable for sometime."
BONDS RISE ON SHIFTING RATE EXPECTATIONS
Canadian bond prices were mostly higher, with long-term
bonds lagging, mirroring the larger U.S. treasuries market, as
investors priced in an interest rate cut by the Fed in
Short-term bonds are much more volatile than long-term
bonds when there has been a change in overnight interest rate
"We have actually changed our forecast now for the U.S.,"
said Chris Holmes, Canadian fixed income strategist at J.P.
"We are expecting an ease at both the September and October
"On the back of that, our Canadian forecast has been
adjusted accordingly. We now feel that the Bank of Canada will
remain on hold in September, but then follow with a 25 basis
point ease in October," Holmes said.
On the data side, wholesale trade numbers for June came in
up 0.2 percent, Statistics Canada said, just a bit shy of
analysts' expectations of a 0.4 percent rise.
The two-year bond added 12 Canadian cents to C$99.25 to
yield 4.188 percent, while the 10-year bond gained 23 Canadian
cents to C$96.76 to yield 4.411 percent.
The yield spread between the two-year and 10-year bond
moved to 22.3 basis points from 17.2 at the previous close.
The 30-year bond fell 28 Canadian cents to C$109.05 to
yield 4.448 percent. In the United States, the 30-year treasury
yielded 4.985 percent.
The three-month when-issued T-bill yielded 4.23 percent,
down from 4.32 percent at the previous close.