By Frank Pingue
TORONTO, Nov 27 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar finished lower against the U.S. currency on Tuesday, slipping below parity briefly, as oil prices fell and the market looked ahead to a Bank of Canada interest rate decision next week.
Canadian bond prices, with no economic data to consider until later in the week, followed U.S. Treasuries as they fell due to a more positive tone on U.S. equity markets.
The Canadian dollar closed at US$1.0050, valuing each U.S. dollar at 99.50 Canadian cents, down from Monday's close of US$1.0088, or 99.12 Canadian cents to the U.S. dollar.
After coming close the entire session, the Canadian dollar briefly ducked below par versus the greenback at midafternoon, falling as low as C$1.0003 to the U.S. dollar, or 99.97 U.S. cents. That marked its first stint below parity since Oct. 4.
Since hitting a modern-day high of US$1.1039 on Nov. 7, the Canadian dollar has been shaken by a slew of factors that include weak domestic economic data, a sharp equity-market selloff and growing talk of a Bank of Canada rate cut.
The latest blow to the commodity-linked Canadian dollar was dealt by oil prices, which tumbled from record levels above $99 a barrel last week to $94.42 on Tuesday.
"We've already seen some other commodity prices take it on the chin a bit in recent weeks and we got a taste of that today in energy markets as well," said Doug Porter, deputy chief economist at BMO Capital Markets.
"Also I think there is the growing sense that Canada will not escape a more serious U.S. slowdown, which looks more and more to be a strong likelihood in the next couple quarters."
The Canadian dollar is down about 5.5 percent in November, and Porter said that it is on track to record its weakest month in history after posting its strongest monthly performances in September and October.
The Bank of Canada will next set monetary policy on Dec. 4, and if it announces the quarter-point rate cut that a growing number of primary dealers expect, it could push the Canadian dollar even lower.
"Markets are largely assuming it, but it's not seen as a done deal," said Porter. "So if the bank does indeed cut next week, accompanied by dovish language, we could see the currency weaken off a little bit further."
The Bank of Canada's key rate is at 4.50 percent. A lower rate would generally make the Canadian dollar less attractive to investors, but it could make the country's exports more competitive.
BONDS TURN LOWER
Canadian bond prices gave back nearly all the gains made during the previous session as U.S. stock markets bounced back from a steep loss and lessened investor appetite for government debt.
The Dow Jones industrial average closed 215 points higher, making up nearly all the losses suffered on Monday.
"Basically we're just seeing almost a precise reversal of the massive (bond) rally we saw yesterday ... some of it is on a better tone in U.S. equities," Porter said.
The Canadian economic calendar will pick up later in the week with third-quarter current account surplus, producer prices, and raw materials data all due out on Thursday. The key report for the week arrives on Friday with the release of third-quarter gross domestic product figures.
The two-year bond slipped 34 Canadian cents to C$101.14 to yield 3.658 percent. The 10-year bond fell 65 Canadian cents to C$100.05 to yield 3.993 percent.
The yield spread between the two-year and 10-year bond moved to 33.5 basis points, from 42.1 basis points at the previous close.
The 30-year bond lost C$1.07 to C$113.57 to yield 4.194 percent. In the United States, the 30-year treasury yielded 4.364 percent.
The three-month when-issued T-bill yielded 3.93 percent, unchanged from the previous close.
(Reporting by Frank Pingue; Editing by Peter Galloway)