* C$ ends at C$1.0208 vs US$, or 97.96 U.S. cents
* C$ touches one-week high after U.S. jobless claims
By Andrea Hopkins
TORONTO, April 25 The Canadian dollar hit its
strongest level in more than a week against its U.S. counterpart
on Thursday after U.S. data showed a fall in new jobless benefit
claims, briefly tempering broader fears about tepid U.S.
The data fueled investor appetite for riskier assets
including stocks and helped support the prices of some
commodities. While the Canadian currency climbed in early trade,
activity fell off when the data bounce faded.
"It's very, very light volumes, very light activity, there
are no big drivers across most of the markets, whether bonds or
currencies," said Mark Chandler, head of Canadian fixed income
and currency strategy at Royal Bank of Canada.
"The U.S. dollar was a bit of an outlier, weaker across the
board, and the Canadian dollar garnered some strength from that
early on," he added.
The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment
benefits fell last week by a surprisingly large 16,000 to
339,000, offering reassurance the bottom is not falling out of
the labor market despite signs of slower growth.
The data countered several weeks of signs that the U.S.
economic activity softened in March and early April, and recent
weak global economic data, including record-high jobless figures
from Spain on Thursday.
The unexpected strength in the U.S. labor market helped send
U.S. stock markets up and government bonds down, aided by
earnings that beat lowered expectations.
The Canadian dollar ended the North American
session at C$1.0208 to the U.S. dollar, or 97.96 U.S. cents, up
from C$1.0256, or 97.50 U.S. cents, at Wednesday's close.
Chandler said he did not see much that might drive trading
in the Canadian dollar on Friday, with the only major data being
U.S. GDP for the first quarter. He expects the Canadian dollar
to weaken in the weeks and months ahead, with few signs of the
Canadian economic strength that buoyed it during parts of last
"We continue to look for the Canadian dollar to weaken
somewhat, get to C$1.05 by the late summer period," he said.
Canadian markets are waiting for the Bank of Canada to
announce a replacement for Governor Mark Carney, who is leaving
in June to head the Bank of England. The bank's current deputy,
Tiff Macklem, is widely expected to take the helm, but analysts
say there is always a chance of a surprise.
The loonie, as the currency is colloquially known, has
traded within a tight range since the central bank last week
stuck to its oft-repeated view that its next interest rate move
will be a rise.
Canadian government bond prices were mixed. The two-year
bond was down half a Canadian cent to yield 0.947
percent and the benchmark 10-year bond was down 20
Canadian cents to yield 1.747 percent.