CANADA FX DEBT-Canadian dollar slips as risk aversion returns

TORONTO, Feb 4 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar slipped versus the greenback on Wednesday as uncertainty around the U.S. stimulus package and a downgrade of Russia sparked a renewal of safe-haven buying.

At 8:40 a.m. (1340 GMT), the Canadian dollar was at C$1.2365, or 80.87 U.S. cents, down from C$1.2301 to the U.S. dollar, or 81.29 U.S. cents, from Tuesday’s close.

It had hit a session low at C$1.2440 before paring losses.

“Specifically related to Canada, once again its been a follower rather than a leader. The bid in dollar/Canada really came in conjunction of the widespread bid for U.S. dollars and Japanese yen,” said Jack Spitz, managing director of foreign exchange at National Bank of Canada.

Ratings agency Fitch downgraded Russia’s long-term foreign and local currency ratings, while the fate of the U.S. economic stimulus package remains unclear.

Spitz also said there was little influence on the Canadian dollar on Wednesday from commodities such as oil, which often influences moves in the currency because it is a key Canadian export.

The Canadian dollar rallied 1 percent versus the greenback on Tuesday as higher equities and unexpectedly strong U.S. data allowed the domestic currency to move comfortably off a one-week low. (Reporting by Ka Yan Ng; Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson)