CANADA FX DEBT-C$ edges higher ahead of Bank of Canada decision
* C$ at C$1.0272 vs US$, or 97.35 U.S. cents * C$ has weakened more than 3 percent since January * Bank of Canada expected to keep interest rates unchanged * At least five central banks announce rate decision this week By Solarina Ho TORONTO, March 5 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar was marginally stronger on Tuesday against its U.S. counterpart as investors remained mostly sidelined ahead of the Bank of Canada's rate decision and policy statement on Wednesday. The currency tracked global markets, strengthening as investors bet major central banks would keep monetary policy easy at meetings this week. Australia's Reserve Bank kept interest rates at record lows overnight. The Bank of Japan, the Bank of England and the European Central Bank are all expected to either keep current loose policies in place or add extra stimulus after their meetings this week. "The Bank of Canada has been the main source for this recent loonie weakness over the last month or so," said Darren Richardson, corporate dealer at CanadianForex, a commercial foreign exchange dealing firm, referring to the colloquial name for the Canadian dollar. It has weakened more than 3 percent since the Bank of Canada toned down its more hawkish stance in January, saying the withdrawal of monetary policy stimulus was "less imminent than previously anticipated." That language has prompted economists and forecasters to predict the central bank will likely hold interest rates unchanged until the first quarter of 2014. "It will be interesting to see if they confirm that tomorrow. All eyes are on the Bank of Canada," said Richardson, adding that the Bank's choice of language could provide direction for Canada's dollar over the next month or so. At 9:22 a.m. (1422 GMT), the Canadian dollar was trading at C$1.0272 versus the U.S. dollar, or 97.35 U.S. cents, slightly firmer than its North American finish at C$1.0277, or 97.30 U.S. cents on Monday. The Canadian dollar was trading within a narrow, 21-point range and mostly underperforming other currencies on Tuesday. Richardson expected the currency to trade between C$1.0250 and C$1.2080 for the day. Canadian government bond prices were lower across the curve. The two-year bond was off 2.5 Canadian cents and yielding 0.958 percent, while the benchmark 10-year bond was down 16 Canadian cents to yield 1.827 percent.