CANADA FX DEBT-C$ strengthens after last week's rout, Fed eyed
* C$ at C$1.0445 vs US$, or 95.74 U.S. cents * Canada dollar consolidates after last week's slide * U.S. Federal Reserve policy meeting in focus * Canadian bond prices mixed across the curve By Leah Schnurr TORONTO, Oct 28 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar strengthened against the greenback on Monday, recovering some of its recent sharp drop, though investors were cautious ahead of a meeting of Federal Reserve policymakers later this week. Highlighting weaker-than-expected growth and inflation figures, the Bank of Canada last week dropped any mention of eventual rate increases from its latest policy statement, leading to expectations among analysts that rates will stay low for longer. The central bank has kept its key rate at 1 percent since 2010, and analysts said the removal of its rate-rise bias gives its policy stance a more neutral tone. The policy shift took the "loonie" to a 1-1/2-month low by Friday and the currency lost 1.6 percent for the week. "We're in that zone where the Bank of Canada has set its tone now for a little bit here - growth forecasts down and interest rate hikes on the distant horizon," said Don Mikolich, executive director of foreign exchange sales at CIBC World Markets. The Canadian dollar ended the North American session at C$1.0445 versus the greenback, or 95.74 U.S. cents, stronger than Friday's close of C$1.0455, or 95.65 U.S. cents. Traders may get further insight in the Bank of Canada's decision on Tuesday when BoC Governor Stephen Poloz appears before a parliamentary finance committee in Ottawa. Investors also had their focus on the Federal Reserve's two-day meeting, starting on Tuesday, though the U.S. central bank was expected to hold the line on its economic stimulus efforts. The Fed surprised markets in September with its decision to continue its bond-buying program at a $85 billion a month pace, rather than trimming the amount. The Canadian dollar touched a three-month high following that announcement, but has weakened since. "We're basically just consolidating after last week," said Scott Smith, senior market analyst at Cambridge Mercantile Group in Calgary. "The change in the Bank of Canada stance on interest rates and the outlook for monetary policy in Canada has really trumped that risk-on atmosphere in the 'loonie' that we got from the delay in tapering," he added. Barring any surprises, the Canada dollar is likely to trade in a range between the low C$1.05 area and the high C$1.03 levels, said Smith. Also on the data horizon this week is Canadian gross domestic product for August, due on Thursday. Canadian government bond prices were mixed across the maturity curve. The two-year bond was unchanged to yield 1.088 percent, and the benchmark 10-year bond slipped 2 Canadian cents to yield 2.424 percent.
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