UPDATE 1-Canada's C$3.2 billion bond nets decent demand

Wed Mar 23, 2011 1:37pm EDT

* Bid-to-cover ratio of 2.5522

* Auction of 2014 bond yields average 2.022

* Auction not seen affecting Bank of Canada rate decision (Adds details, analyst comments)

By Solarina Ho

TORONTO, March 23 (Reuters) - Canada's sale of three-year government bonds met with decent demand on Wednesday as expectations grew that the Bank of Canada would leave interest rates steady longer, following strong political opposition to the Conservative government's budget.

There were more than C$8 billion in bids from primary dealers, resulting in a bid-to-cover ratio of 2.5522.

The C$3.2 billion bond auction, due in 2014, yielded an average 2.022 percent, slightly lower than the previous two three-year auctions.

"It did attract decent demand. The bid-cover was pretty strong ... That compares favorably to February and the recent average for this auction," said Fergal Smith, managing market strategist at Action Economics.

"The demand for Canadian auction has held up very well ... I think it's being supported by the bank's patient stance on policy and there's a lingering safe-haven bid in reaction to global events."

The auction isn't seen having an influence on the Bank of Canada, which is largely expected to raise rates later this year. [CAD/POLL] BOCWATCH

Opposition parties have said they will vote against the minority Conservative government's budget plan. That would mean the government would fall and result in a federal election in May.

"The budget and May election have ruled out a spring rate hike from the Bank of Canada. The market's been already pushing back expectations to the second half of the year," said Smith.

The Bank of Canada said it bought C$480 million of the issue for itself and on behalf of its clients. The bonds will be issued March 25.

Details on Bank of Canada webpage:

here

Also see:

<CA/GOVT> BOCBOND

(Access may depend on subscriber level)

($1=$0.98 Canadian)

FILED UNDER: