CANADA FX DEBT-C$ softens, with eye on Bank of Canada decision
* C$ at C$1.0407 vs the US$, or 96.09 U.S. cents * Traders waiting on Wednesday's central bank decision * Bank of Canada expected to maintain hawkish bias * Bond prices mixed By Andrea Hopkins TORONTO, July 15 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar was little changed against the U.S. dollar in early trade on Monday as a relief rally spurred by Chinese growth faded and investors anticipated a move by the Bank of Canada to downgrade Canada's economic growth outlook. China's economic growth cooled to 7.5 percent in the second quarter from a year ago as expected, but was better than feared, while other figures showed a healthy rise in retail sales and a minor undershoot of forecasts in industrial output. Comments by Beijing last week had led markets to think the numbers might have been weaker, so the outcome brought relief. Commodities and commodity-linked currencies like the Canadian dollar initially drove higher, but like stocks saw some profit-taking following a strong week last week. While the Canadian dollar remains stronger than the depths plumbed last week, one trader said he expects the currency to soften again this week as the Bank of Canada leaves rates unchanged but tamps down 2014 growth forecasts in the Monetary Policy Report on Wednesday. "This generalized U.S. dollar bid - and the fact that the relief rally after the Chinese GDP data has also proved relatively temporary for the commodity currencies - has encouraged a reasonable bid tone to dollar-CAD at the start of this week," said Jeremy Stretch, head of foreign exchange strategy at CIBC World Markets in London. "We're very mindful the MPR will mostly likely downgrade growth for next year in Canada, which I think is consistent with the modest topside potential and probably a move back towards C$1.05 and perhaps as high as C$1.06 towards the end of the week." The Bank of Canada is expected to keep its tightening bias in the first interest rate decision under new Governor Stephen Poloz, but slow growth and low inflation means a rate increase is not seen until the fourth quarter of 2014, a Reuters poll showed. All 38 economists polled by Reuters expect the central bank to leave its benchmark rate unchanged at 1 percent on July 17, its next scheduled rate decision. And the majority of respondents said the Bank of Canada will stand pat until late next year at the earliest. At 8:40 a.m. (1240 GMT), the Canadian dollar was trading at C$1.0407 versus the U.S. dollar, or 96.09 U.S. cents, little changed from Friday's North American trading session close at C$1.0396 versus the greenback, or 96.19 U.S. cents. Prices for Canadian government debt were mixed, with the two-year bond losing 1 Canadian cent to yield 1.142 percent. The benchmark 10-year bond fell 12 Canadian cents, yielding 2.449 percent.
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