Canadian dollar lower, greenback strengthens on Fed tapering speculation - InfoNews

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Canadian dollar lower, greenback strengthens on Fed tapering speculation

December 13, 2013 - 5:19 AM

TORONTO - The Canadian dollar was lower Friday with traders focused on the Federal Reserve and whether the central bank will move to cut back on monetary stimulus at its interest rate meeting next week.

The currency fell 0.12 of a cent to 93.86 cents US as the U.S. currency gained strength following the passage of a budget agreement in the U.S. Congress Thursday night.

Expectations about the Fed tapering its US$85 billion of bond purchases have changed over the last month, with markets largely expecting that the central bank would hold off until March when incoming chair Janet Yellen was settled in the new job.

But a string of strong data last week, capped by a solid employment report for November, have raised concerns that the Fed could act when the Federal Open Market Committee meets on Dec. 17-18.

A better than expected retail sales report for November and the budget agreement arriving at earlier this week further served to raise expectations.

The U.S. stimulus has supported a rally on stock markets over the past few years, and its potential reduction has jolted markets since May, when outgoing Fed chair Ben Bernanke first mentioned the possibility of tapering. However, any cutback in asset purchases would be gradual and is expected to be accompanied by a renewed commitment by the Fed to keep interest rates low.

The focus will likely remain on the Fed until its decision next Wednesday.

U.S. bond yields continued to creep higher on Fed speculation. The benchmark 10-year Treasury hit 2.9 per cent earlier in the morning before drifting down to 2.88 per cent.

On the commodity markets, January crude on the New York Mercantile Exchange declined 47 cents to US$97.03 a barrel.

March copper was up a penny at US$3.30 a pound while February bullion gained $3.60 to US$1,228.50 an ounce.

Traders also digested comments by Chinese leaders that the world’s second-largest economy faces “downward pressure” and have called for boldness in carrying out promised reforms aimed at reviving slowing growth.

In a report following an annual planning meeting, Communist Party leaders said Friday that the country faces problems including excess production capacity in some industries and environmental degradation.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2013
The Canadian Press

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