(Adds broker comment, updates prices to close) * Canadian dollar settles at C$1.3335, or 74.99 U.S. cents * Loonie touches its weakest since Jan. 20 at C$1.3357 * Bond prices lower across yield curve By Alastair Sharp TORONTO, March 1 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar weakened to a fresh five-week low against its U.S. counterpart on Wednesday, pressured by bets the Federal Reserve could hike U.S. interest rates in March and a cautious tone from the Bank of Canada.
The Canadian dollar settled at C$1.3335 to the greenback, or 74.99 U.S. cents, weaker than Tuesday's close of C$1.3281, or 75.30 U.S. cents and its weakest close since early January.
At one point the currency touched C$1.3357, its weakest intra-day level since Jan. 20.
"If you're a Canadian exporter that is long USD, then this is a move I think you have been waiting for," said Brad Schruder, director of corporate sales and structuring at BMO Capital Markets.
"If there's just a horrific Q4 GDP number for Canada out tomorrow, sure I can see people wanting to sell Canada a little bit more, but at this point in time it feels like a March rate hike from the Fed is almost baked in and I just don't see any compelling reason to change views on the Canadian dollar," he said.
Canada's economy is expected to have grown at an annualized 2 percent rate in the fourth quarter, according to a Reuters poll.
The country's central bank held rates steady on Wednesday as it stayed focused on the "significant uncertainties" facing the economy.
"I think they will keep doing that until we get some clarity on U.S. policy," said Adam Cole, global head of FX strategy at RBC Capital Markets.
The bank said it was continuing to monitor the risks contained in its January Monetary Policy Report, which included a "protectionist tilt" in U.S. trade policy.
In a speech to Congress on Tuesday evening, U.S. President Donald Trump did not comment on a proposed border adjustment tax that analysts say would particularly hurt the loonie if implemented.
The perceived chances of a Canadian rate increase by the end of the year dipped to 29 percent after the central bank's announcement from 35 percent prior, data from the overnight index swaps market showed.
In contrast, chances of a Fed hike in March surged after hawkish comments from two Fed officials, while U.S. factory data added to greenback support .
Canadian government bond prices were lower across the yield curve, with the two-year price down half a Canadian cent to yield 0.761 percent and the benchmark 10-year falling 49 Canadian cents to yield 1.69 percent.
(Additional reporting by Fergal Smith; Editing by Nick Zieminski and James Dalgleish)