* C$ ends slightly weaker at C$0.9997 vs US$, or $1.0003
* Oil gains help support, but growth fears weigh
* Bond prices creep higher
By Andrea Hopkins
TORONTO, Feb 24 The Canadian dollar ended
slightly weaker near parity with the U.S. dollar on Friday as a
quiet day on the economic front and market focus on the
implementation of Greece's rescue deal kept the currency mostly
on the sidelines.
While oil prices rose above $125 a barrel, on track for a
fifth straight weekly gain, the Canadian dollar ended the day
and the week little changed, overlooked as traders watched
developments in the euro zone and Iran for direction.
"There is very little going on, so the currency is following
the general tone on risk, and a little bit on the sidelines for
the time being," said David Tulk, chief Canada macro strategist
at TD Securities.
Oil prices rose again as the United Nation's nuclear
watchdog said Iran has sharply stepped up work on uranium
enrichment. The sharp run-up in oil prices has increased worries
that slower consumer demand will stymie global growth,
particularly as the euro zone remains mired in a debt crisis and
appears headed for recession.
Global stocks were little changed as rising energy costs
supported the safe-haven appeal of U.S. government debt, and
U.S. Treasuries were on track for their best weekly performance
in four weeks.
While strong oil prices can support the resource-linked
Canadian dollar, concern about their impact on U.S. and
global growth weighed on risk sentiment.
The Canadian dollar closed at C$0.9997 to the U.S. dollar,
or $1.0003, off slightly from Thursday's North American session
close at C$0.9976 against its U.S. counterpart, or $1.0024.
"It has underperformed somewhat today largely driven by a
lack of news one way or another out of economic data in the U.S.
or Canada, and so instead we're focused on events in Europe, and
looking forward to the G20 meeting over the weekend," Tulk said.
The euro zone's debt problems are likely to dominate a
two-day meeting of G20 finance ministers on the weekend with
euro zone countries pushing for their G20 partners to commit
more money to the IMF to help the currency bloc overcome its
Canadian bond prices crept higher across the curve.
The two-year bond was up 2 Canadian cents to
yield 1.079 percent. The 10-year bond climbed 21
Canadian cents to yield 2.029 percent.