CANADA FX DEBT-Loonie rises in volatile month-end trading; down 4.6% in March

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    * Canadian dollar rises 0.9% against the greenback
    * Price of U.S. oil increases 1.9%
    * The loonie ends down 7.5% for the first quarter
    * Canadian bond yields fall across a flatter curve

    By Fergal Smith
    TORONTO, March 31 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar rose
against the greenback on Tuesday in  volatile trading to end the
first quarter as oil prices rose and data showed the domestic
economy grew in January, but the loonie still posted its biggest
monthly decline in five years.
    The currency strengthened 0.9% to 1.4040 per U.S. dollar, or
71.23 U.S. cents on Tuesday. It traded in a range of 1.4015 to
1.4350.
    "We've got big month-end and quarter-end flows going through
thin markets in the midst of a crisis," said Michael Goshko,
corporate risk manager at Western Union Business Solutions.     
    Under the circumstances, it was not surprising to see such
big swings, he said.
    For the month, the loonie weakened 4.6%, its biggest decline
since January 2015, and it was down 7.5% for the first quarter.
    Canada's economy gained 0.1% in January, driven largely by
higher manufacturing, Statistics Canada data showed on Tuesday.
            
    Still, the economy could be hit particularly hard over the
coming months by the coronavirus outbreak. Household debt is at
record levels and the price of oil       , one of the country's
major exports, has collapsed since January.
    In an effort to support the economy, the Bank of Canada has
slashed interest rates in a series of emergency moves this
month, to 0.25%. It is likely to buy about C$200 billion of
government debt after announcing its first quantitative easing
program, bond strategists estimate.             
    U.S. crude oil futures        settled 1.9% higher at $20.48
a barrel on Tuesday after U.S. President Donald Trump and
Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin agreed to talks on
stabilizing energy markets. Still, oil fell 66% in the first
quarter.             
    The U.S. dollar        gave up its early gains on Tuesday
after initially being supported by quarterly and fiscal year-end
demand from portfolio managers and Japanese firms.             
    Canadian government bond yields fell across a flatter yield
curve. The 10-year             was down 7.2 basis points at
0.697%.

 (Reporting by Fergal Smith;
Editing by Nick Zieminski and Dan Grebler)
  

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