CANADA FX DEBT-C$ hits 1-month high vs US$ on strong retail sales
* C$ at C$1.0308 to US$, or 97.01 U.S. cents * Strengthens to one-month high after strong retail sales * Bonds prices mixed By Andrea Hopkins TORONTO, July 23 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar hit a one-month high against its U.S. counterpart on Tuesday after stronger-than-expected domestic retail sales data fed expectations of extended economic growth. Higher auto sales helped drive Canadian retail sales 1.9 percent higher in May from April, the biggest monthly jump for more than three years and far greater than the 0.4 percent growth predicted by market operators. "We did see the currency getting a lift off the back of what seemed to be a fairly stunning set of sales numbers, and it wasn't just one sector it was pretty much all sectors, apart from electronics and jewelry, so it was a pretty significant across-the-board improvement," said Jeremy Stretch, head of foreign exchange strategy for CIBC World Markets in London. He said the data could signal higher-than-expected economic growth data for the second quarter. Canada's economy grew 2.5 percent at annual rate in the first quarter. At 9:40 a.m., the Canadian dollar was trading at C$1.0308 to the greenback, or 97.01 U.S. cents, stronger than Monday's North American session close at C$1.0344, or 96.67 U.S. cents. It climbed as high as C$1.0298 to the U.S. dollar, or 97.11 U.S. cents, shortly after the retail data was released, to touch its strongest level since June 20. Stretch said the Canadian currency could test the C$1.03 level again and push as strong as C$1.0270, especially given the dearth of other global data to move markets. On the flip side, a renewed spike in U.S. bond yields could push the currency weaker, but that seemed less likely than more strength for the loonie, Stretch said. "That would probably have to be a function of U.S. yields squeezing back up through the session highs north of 253 in 10-years, but if we were to see that sort of level clearly that would see us attempting that session high at C$1.0350, towards C$1.0368, the high from yesterday, but I don't see that as likely," Stretch said. The U.S. dollar in recent weeks has gained broadly as yields spiked in anticipation of a reduction in monetary stimulus, with the Canadian currency managing to stick with the greenback and gain against some other currencies. The price of Canadian government debt was mixed across the curve, with the two-year bond down 5.5 Canadian cents to yield 1.118 percent and the benchmark 10-year bond falling 39 Canadian cents to yield 2.406 percent.
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