March 6, 2020 / 2:27 PM / a month ago

CANADA FX DEBT-Loonie weakens, bond yields plunge on coronavirus fears

* Canadian dollar at C$1.3400 or 74.63 U.S. cents

* Bond yields slide across the curve

By Karen Brettell

March 6 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar weakened on Friday against its U.S. counterpart, while government bond yields tumbled as concerns about the economic impact of the spreading coronavirus grew, even after data showed Canada’s employers added more jobs in February than expected.

Business districts around the world began to empty and stock markets tumbled as the number of coronavirus infections neared 100,000 and economic damage wrought by the outbreak intensified.

Concerns over the financial and market impact of the virus are superseding the backward looking employment and other economic data.

“Currency markets are likely to continue taking their cue from other markets, including the fixed income and equity markets, as many economic data points that would otherwise drive FX markets may be less relevant for now,” Erik Nelson, a currency strategist at Wells Fargo, said in a report.

Global central banks have cut rates in a bid to offset economic weakness stemming from the virus, but investors are convinced that further cuts will be needed.

The Bank of Canada cut its benchmark overnight rate to 1.25% from 1.75% on Wednesday said it would cut again if necessary.

It came after the U.S. Federal Reserve on Tuesday cut interest rates by 50 basis points in its first emergency cut since the financial crisis.

The U.S. dollar gained 0.07% against the loonie to C$1.3410.

Canadian bond yields plunged in line with a dramatic drop in U.S. Treasury yields. Two-year yields fell as low as 0.636%, the lowest since November 2016, and were last 0.652%. Benchmark 10-year yields dropped to a record low of 0.637%, and were last 0.661%.

Data showed Canada’s economy gained a net 30,300 jobs in February, entirely in full-time work, Statistics Canada said on Friday. The jobless rate edged up to 5.6%.

U.S. employers added 273,000 jobs in the month with the jobless rate falling back to near a 50-year low of 3.5%. (Reporting by Karen Brettell; Editing by David Gregorio)

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