* C$ at C$1.0309 to US$, or 97.00 U.S. cents
* Currency helped by GDP data; weak but as forecast
* C$ early hit C$1.0343, weakest since June
By Alastair Sharp
TORONTO, March 1 The Canadian dollar pared early
losses and traded stronger on Friday after domestic economic
growth data for December and the fourth quarter came out in line
The Canadian economy chalked up another quarter of weak
growth at the end of 2012, and shrank 0.2 percent in December
for its first monthly decline since February 2012.
But given that economists have sharply lowered their
expectations in recent weeks after a string of dour data, the
currency actually strengthened slightly after the numbers.
"There may have been some players that were bracing for an
even worse number than this and the possibility of a slight
decline," said Paul Ferley, assistant chief economist at Royal
Bank of Canada.
"That didn't happen, so that may be contributing to a bit of
a bounce. But I wouldn't think the reaction will be all that
long lived as the number just seems too close to expectations."
At 9:16 a.m. (1416 GMT) the Canadian dollar was
trading at C$1.0309 to the greenback, or 97.00 U.S. cents,
compared with C$1.0334 just before the GDP data was released and
$1.0314 at Thursday's North American close.
The currency fell off sharply overnight, hitting C$1.0343,
its weakest level since June 28.
The loonie, as Canada's currency is colloquially known, has
weakened sharply against the U.S. dollar since mid-February,
when the pair were changing hands at equal value. It is on track
for a 1 percent slip this week.
"The dollar has already taken a pretty severe licking in
recent days and weeks in any event, and I don't think this will
necessarily pile on," said Doug Porter, chief economist at BMO
The price of the two-year bond slipped after the
data to trade flat with a yield of 0.953 percent, while the
benchmark 10-year bond also pulled back but was
still up 18 Canadian cents to yield 1.818 percent.