CANADA FX DEBT-C$ gains modestly to end week up 0.3 pct vs US$
* C$ at C$1.0367 vs US$, or 96.46 U.S. cents * CPI rises for second month, but weaker than expected * Bond prices rise across maturity curve By Alastair Sharp TORONTO, July 19 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar ended slightly stronger against its U.S. counterpart in subdued trading on Friday, even as Canadian inflation data came in a little weaker than expected. The loonie, as Canada's currency is colloquially known, gained less than 0.3 percent over the week, in which U.S. Federal Reserve chief Ben Bernanke calmed some investor jitters over an eventual winding down of the bank's stimulus program. "Broadly, the U.S. dollar was weaker so the Canadian has benefited a little off that," said Camilla Sutton, chief currency strategist at Scotiabank. She said the unsurprising inflation data kept a lid on interest rate expectations, as Canada's annual inflation rate rose in June for a second month, to 1.2 percent, after hitting a 3-1/2-year low in April. Month-over-month figures were slightly weaker than what economists polled by Reuters had expected. "The weak CPI is reducing any expectation the Bank of Canada will be hiking (rates) any time soon - not that there was any - but it signals the Bank of Canada will be on hold for a very long time," said Charles St-Arnaud, economist and currency strategist At Nomura Securities. Meanwhile, higher oil prices and other factors suggest room for further loonie strength, Scotiabank's Sutton said. "There are a whole host of technical signals that point to the possibility of Canadian dollar strength" in coming days, she added. The Canadian dollar, which underperformed most of its major currency counterparts, ended the session trading at C$1.0367 versus the U.S. dollar, or 96.46 U.S. cents, a slight gain on Thursday's North American finish at C$1.0376, or 96.38 U.S. cents. The price of government debt was higher across the curve, with the two-year bond up 2 Canadian cents to yield 1.084 percent and the benchmark 10-year bond rising 34 Canadian cents to yield 2.358 percent.
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