CANADA FX DEBT-C$ extends losses as housing data helps US$
* C$ at C$1.0152 versus US$, or 98.50 U.S. cents, a 7-month low * U.S. housing slows, but outlook helps lift greenback By Alastair Sharp TORONTO, Feb 20 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar weakened against its U.S. counterpart in early trade on Wednesday, hurt by decent U.S. housing data that encouraged investors to return to the greenback. The currency also fell against the euro and the Swiss franc, but gained versus the British pound after minutes from the latest Bank of England meeting showed policymakers were willing to ease policy further. At 9:13 a.m. (1413 GMT) the Canadian dollar was trading at C$1.0152 to the greenback, or 98.50 U.S. cents, compared with C$1.0118, or 98.83 U.S. cents, at Tuesday's North American close. Those levels are the weakest for the loonie, as Canada's currency is colloquially known, since last July when it traded above $1.02. "It's consistent with markets being slightly risk-negative and (U.S.) dollar positive for that matter," said Adam Cole, global head of foreign exchange strategy at Royal Bank of Canada. U.S. stock futures edged lower, European shares dipped and gold and oil prices also fell. Cole said that U.S. producer price data that showed a rise in January would likely not affect investor views as inflation data is not currently high on the Fed's agenda, while the volatility of housing data limited its impact. Investors will turn next to minutes from the U.S. Federal Reserve, due to be released later on Wednesday. Any hint the Fed is nearer a paring back of its asset purchase program would help the greenback and hurt the loonie, which has in recent months benefited from a comparatively hawkish tone from the Bank of Canada. The two-year bond was off half a Canadian cent to yield 1.141 percent, while the benchmark 10-year bond fell 13 Canadian cents to yield 2.038 percent.
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