CANADA FX DEBT-C$ hits one-week high on strong North American jobs data

Fri Mar 8, 2013 9:50am EST
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* C$ at C$1.0257 versus US$, or 97.49 U.S. cents

* Robust jobs reports in both countries boost currency

* C$ sharply stronger against euro, franc, Aussie, yen

By Alastair Sharp

TORONTO, March 8 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar strengthened sharply on Friday to hit a one-week high after much better-than-expected jobs growth in February in both Canada and its main trading partner, the United States.

Canada added almost 51,000 jobs in the month, with strong gains in services industries that vaulted the total well past the 8,000 additions expected by analysts surveyed by Reuters.

U.S. employers also stepped up hiring, pushing the unemployment rate to a four year-low, suggesting the world's biggest economy is gaining traction despite the blow from higher taxes and deep government spending cuts.

"It's hard to separate the impact given that we had two pretty stellar reports on employment in Canada and the U.S. so it looks like the strength may persist throughout the rest of the day," said Mazen Issa, a macro strategist at TD Securities.

The Canadian currency got to C$1.0234 to the greenback, or 97.71 U.S. cents, soon after the employment data, its best rate since Feb 28.   Continued...