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Wednesday October 24, 2007 - 21:17:09 GMT
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Forex Market News - Canada dollar lower despite late rally, bonds up

Wed Oct 24, 2007 5:10pm EDT
 By Frank Pingue
 TORONTO, Oct 24 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar closed
lower against the greenback on Wednesday as investors shied
away from risky assets, but talk that the U.S. Federal Reserve
would cut its discount rate imminently allowed the currency to
cut its losses.
 Canadian bond prices followed the bigger U.S. Treasury
market to a higher close after weak U.S. existing-home sales
data and big writedowns at Merrill Lynch fueled expectations
for a U.S. Federal Reserve rate cut, perhaps even before the
Fed's meeting next week.
 The Canadian dollar closed at 96.91 Canadian cents to the
U.S. dollar, or US$1.0318, down from Tuesday's close of 96.61
Canadian cents to the U.S. dollar, or US$1.0351.
 Late in the session the Canadian dollar looked headed for a
steeper loss, but talk that the U.S. Federal Reserve would cut
the discount rate filtered through Wall Street and sparked a
flurry of activity on financial markets.
 The Fed declined to comment on the market speculation, but
not before the greenback handed back some of its gains and the
Canadian dollar pared losses suffered earlier in the session.
 "The U.S. dollar itself weakened off on the rumors about
the possibility of the Fed cutting the discount rate again,"
said Steve Butler, director of foreign exchange trading at
Scotia Capital. "So that sent the U.S. dollar generally a bit
lower and Canada has benefited on the back of that."
 The Canadian dollar fell to 97.34 Canadian cents to the
U.S. dollar, or US$1.0273, midway through the session as North
American stock markets were under pressure following news of
$7.9 billion in writedowns at Merrill Lynch & Co (MER.N: Quote, Profile, Research).
 The talk of a Fed cut to the discount rate opened the door
for stock markets to reverse losses by the end of the session,
but the sharp equity selloff at the end of last week was still
fresh in investors' minds.
 "Traders were a little hesitant to start selling the U.S.
dollar again at a time when the equity market was faltering,
which could produce a safe-haven bid in the short term," said
David Powell, currency analyst at IDEAglobal in New York.
 "And given the backdrop of last Friday's developments,
investors are a bit cautious about taking on further risk and
that has been seen with a slight fall in the Canadian dollar."
 Oil prices have been a key driver behind the Canadian
dollar's gains this year given Canada's role as a major
producer and exporter of oil. They cushioned the Canadian
currency's fall on Wednesday as prices settled above $87 a
barrel after three days of losses.
 Canadian bond prices followed the bigger U.S. Treasury
market to a higher close as U.S. data on existing home sales
missed estimates and added to earlier gains recorded after the
Merrill Lynch news.
 "It's a flight-to-quality bid generally," said Mark
Chandler, fixed income strategist at RBC Capital Markets. "It
was strongest earlier on, right in the wake of the writedowns
that were announced at Merrill, and the existing home sales
spurred things on."
 A report on new U.S. home sales data due on Thursday will
likely be the next driver behind bond prices, while the next
Canadian economic report due out will be the October Business
Conditions Survey, due on Friday.
 The two-year bond rose 8 Canadian cents to C$100.25 to
yield 4.125 percent, while the 10-year bond added 22 Canadian
cents to C$97.77 to yield 4.285 percent.
 The yield spread between the two-year and 10-year bond
moved to 16.0 basis points from 15.0 at the previous close.
 The 30-year bond increased 34 Canadian cents to C$110.64 to
yield 4.356 percent. In the United States, the 30-year Treasury
yielded 4.645 percent.
 The three-month when-issued T-bill yielded 3.93 percent,
unchanged from the previous close.

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