October 18, 2012 / 2:31 PM / in 5 years

Canada dollar dips after U.S. jobless data; China growth eyed

TORONTO (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar slipped against its U.S. counterpart on Thursday after disappointing U.S. jobless claims data removed some shine from a global outlook that was buoyed overnight by signs China's economy may be pulling out of a slowdown.

The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits rose last week, reversing a sharp decline the previous week, but still pointing to a labor market that is slowly healing.

The higher U.S. jobless claims data trumped better-than-expected Canadian wholesale sales figures released at the same time.

"It's just another reason to take off a little bit of risk," said John Curran, senior vice president at CanadianForex, referring to the jobless data. "I think people are mostly focusing on what'll come out of Europe."

The leaders of Europe's two central powers, Germany and France, clashed over greater EU control of national budgets and moves toward a single banking supervisor on Thursday, hours before a two-day European Union summit starts in Brussels.

At 9:37 a.m. (1337 GMT) the Canadian dollar was trading at C$0.9815 to the greenback, or $1.0188, compared with C$0.9780, or $1.0225, at Wednesday's North American close.

CHINA REBOUND, BANK OF CANADA EYED

The resource-linked Canadian currency had strengthened overnight after data showed that China, one of the world's hungriest consumers of many commodities, had likely hit the bottom of a seven-quarter long economic downturn between July and September.

But gains were limited, as they have been recently, by uncertainty over whether the Bank of Canada plans to drop a hawkish bias on interest rates, a question that may be answered when the bank announces its latest rate decision next Tuesday.

"The Aussie seems to generally have more of a reaction to the Chinese data," said Matt Perrier, director of foreign exchange sales at BMO Capital Markets. "The fact that we've got the Canada rate announcement on Tuesday will keep the Canadian dollar at bay until then."

The Australian dollar hit a 2 1/2 week high versus the U.S. dollar, while it has appreciated to near C$1.02 against the Canadian currency this week after trading below parity earlier in October.

The Canadian currency strengthened against the euro, British pound, and Swiss franc.

CanadianForex's Curran said that if the Bank of Canada retains language about an eventual rate rise the currency could significantly strengthen, whereas movement would likely be more subdued if the language is removed.

Canadian government bond prices moved higher, with the two-year bond up 3 Canadian cent to yield 1.120 percent, while the benchmark 10-year bond added 19 Canadian cents to yield 1.891 percent.

Editing by Peter Galloway

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