CANADA FX DEBT-C$ weakens to 1-month low on 'fiscal cliff' worry

Thu Dec 27, 2012 2:58pm EST

* C$ weakens to C$0.9959 vs US$, or $1.0041, one-month low
    * Reid's pessimism on budget deal sends investors to safety
    * Bond prices mostly higher


    By Andrea Hopkins
    TORONTO, Dec 27 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar weakened to
a one-month low against its U.S. counterpart on Thursday, as
investors fled to safety after comments by the top Democrat in
the U.S. Senate warning the country looked to be headed over the
"fiscal cliff" of tax hikes and spending cuts.
    Majority Leader Harry Reid told the Senate in a speech that
"it looks like that is where we're headed." 
    U.S. stocks added to losses after Reid's comment while world
stocks dipped into negative territory, the U.S. dollar rose and
the euro dipped. The euro and riskier currencies tend to benefit
when U.S. budget negotiations run smoothly, but when there are
snags, investor flows go into the safe-haven and highly liquid
dollar. 
    "Today it is about the headlines on the fiscal cliff and
risk aversion and the U.S. dollar getting a bit of a safe-haven
bid," said Shaun Osborne, chief currency strategist at TD
Securities.
    "We've had some short-end Treasury bills go negative as
people move into safe havens, and I think that is an indicator
of where money is going to flow as the fiscal cliff looms even
larger in the next few days."
    At 2:35 p.m. (1935 GMT), the Canadian dollar stood
at C$0.9959 versus the U.S. dollar, or $1.0041, down from
Monday's North American session close at C$0.9913 versus the
U.S. dollar, or $1.0088, and at its weakest level since Nov. 28.
    North American markets were closed on Dec. 25 and most
Canadian markets remained shut on Wednesday for Boxing Day, so
Thursday was the first day of normal trade since markets closed
on Monday, Christmas Eve.
    Reid called on the Republicans who control the House of
Representatives to prevent the worst of the fiscal shock by
getting behind a Senate bill to extend existing tax cuts for all
except those households earning more than $250,000 a year.
 
    With the House not in session and the clock ticking toward
the scheduled January start of tax increases and deep, automatic
government spending cuts, Reid offered little hope.  
   "I don't know time-wise how it can happen now," he said.
    TD's Osborne said the Canadian dollar is likely to weaken
towards parity in the "not so distant" future, given the global
worries over U.S. economic growth and its knock-on effect on
Canadian growth should the U.S. fail to reach a budget deal.
    "I think we're looking at a return towards the recent
November highs around C$1.0050, (that's) a pretty reasonable
objective over the next week or so," Osborne said.
    Canadian government bond prices were mostly higher on the
flight to safety. The two-year bond was down 1
Canadian cent, yielding 1.130 percent, while the benchmark
10-year bond rose 33 Canadian cents to yield 1.782
percent.
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