Bloomberg News

Canada’s Dollar Gains to Three-Month High as Risk Appetite Grows

February 02, 2012

Feb. 1 (Bloomberg) -- The Canadian dollar advanced to a three-month high versus its U.S. counterpart as stronger global manufacturing data boosted speculation the worldwide economy is growing, stoking investor appetite for riskier assets.

Canada’s currency rose beyond parity with the greenback as purchasing-manager indexes from China to the U.S. increased and European Union President Herman Van Rompuy said the bloc has reached a “turning point” in its two-year-old debt crisis. Canadian employers added jobs in January for a second month, economists predicted a report will show Feb 3. Stocks climbed.

“The loonie’s doing a bit better on the general positive outlook,” Michael O’Neill, vice president of foreign-exchange trading at RJOFX Canada, a unit of RJ O’Brien & Associates Inc., said by phone from Toronto. “That’s partly from the China data last night and also in part because Europe hasn’t cratered. There’s also a bit more optimism surrounding the U.S. economy. What good for the U.S. is good for global growth; Canada is along for the ride.”

The currency, nicknamed the loonie for the image of the waterfowl on the C$1 coin, appreciated 0.4 percent to 99.86 Canadian cents per U.S. dollar at 5 p.m. Toronto time. It touched 99.64 cents, the strongest level since Oct. 31. One Canadian dollar buys $1.0014.

The U.S. dollar fell against all except two of its 16 most- traded peers as investors sought higher-yielding assets.

Biggest Trade Partner

The loonie gained beyond a one-for-one basis with the greenback for a second day as data from the Institute for Supply Management showed manufacturing in the U.S., Canada’s biggest trade partner, expanded at the fastest pace in seven months. The ISM index rose to 54.1, less than projected, from 53.1 in December, the Tempe, Arizona-based group’s report said. Figures greater than 50 signal expansion.

Chinese factory indexes increased as the world’s second- biggest economy withstood weaker exports driven by the European debt crisis and a government-induced property slowdown. In Germany, Europe’s largest economy, output grew for the first time since September.

“The Canadian dollar is being driven by the better-than- expected PMI data,” Mark McCormick, a New York-based currency strategist at Brown Brothers Harriman & Co., said in an e-mail message. “This has resulted in broad U.S. dollar weakness, a strong rally in equities and has boosted growth-sensitive currencies such as the Canadian dollar.”

Bonds Drop

Canadian government bonds fell. Benchmark 10-year notes slid for the first time in six days, lifting their yields higher by two basis points, or 0.02 percentage point, to 1.90 percent. The securities yielded eight basis points more than comparable U.S. Treasuries, versus six basis points at the end of 2011.

Canada sold C$2.5 billion ($2.5 billion) of 10-year debt today, drawing an average yield of 2.015 percent, according to a statement on the Bank of Canada’s website. The 2.75 percent notes are due in June 2022.

The auction attracted C$5.8 billion in bids for a coverage ratio -- the amount bid relative to the amount sold -- of 2.31. The last offering of 10-year bonds, on Oct. 5, drew an average yield of 2.254 percent and a coverage ratio of 2.52.

Employers in Canada added a net 22,000 jobs last month after a revised increase of 21,700 in December, according to the median of 23 forecasts compiled by Bloomberg News before Statistics Canada reports the data on Feb. 3. U.S. payrolls swelled by 145,000 jobs in January, data due the same day in Washington is forecast to show.

Depreciation Forecast

The loonie will depreciate to C$1.03 by the end of the first quarter after weakening 2.3 percent last year, economists in a Bloomberg survey predicted.

“The price action in the Canadian dollar is more a function of external risks, namely the outlook for the euro zone,” Brown Brothers’ McCormick said. “We also expect momentum in the U.S. economy is likely to wane. As a result, we’re a bit more bearish on the Canadian dollar and expect it to finish the quarter at C$1.06.”

RJOFX’s O’Neill predicted the loonie will stay in a range between 99.60 cents and C$1.0050 at least until the payrolls data this week. He recommended buying the greenback against the loonie at 99.60 cents and 99.70 cents, exiting the trade if the U.S. currency weakens to 99.45 cents.

Fibonacci Analysis

O’Neill, citing Fibonacci retracement levels on the range between the July 26 high in the Canadian dollar at 94.07 cents versus the greenback, and its low at C$1.0658 on Oct. 4, said if the currency breaks through the 61.8 percent retracement level at about 98.80, “we should get 100 percent retracement” back to 94.07 cents. That is unlikely to happen unless the euro can appreciate beyond about $1.3250, O’Neill said. It rose 0.6 percent today to $1.3158.

Fibonacci analysis is based on the theory that securities tend to rise or fall by specific percentages after reaching a new high or low.

Canada’s dollar gained 2.8 percent over the past three months against nine developed-nation counterparts monitored by Bloomberg Correlation-Weighted Currency Indexes. The U.S. dollar appreciated 0.4 percent, while the euro weakened 4 percent.

The EU’s Van Rompuy told European lawmakers “substantially” lower yields on Italian and Spanish bonds signal efforts to overcome the debt crisis and preserve the euro are paying off. Greece and private creditors are near an accord on a debt swap that in principle would include a sweetener tied to a revival in economic growth to ease the plan’s impact on bondholders, people with knowledge of the talks said.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rose 0.9 percent in its first advance in five days. Crude oil for March delivery climbed as much as 1.2 percent to $99.49 a barrel in New York before sliding to $97.31. Crude, Canada’s biggest export, reversed gains after a report showed U.S. inventories climbed.

--Editors: Greg Storey, Kenneth Pringle

To contact the reporter on this story: Chris Fournier in Halifax, Nova Scotia, at cfournier3@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dave Liedtka at dliedtka@bloomberg.net


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