CANADA FX DEBT-C$ little changed, focus on jobs data ahead
* Canadian dollar at C$1.1039 or 90.59 U.S. cents * Bond prices mixed across the maturity curve (Adds details, quote, updates prices) By Leah Schnurr TORONTO, April 3 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar was little changed against the greenback on Thursday as data showing the country reported a small trade surplus in February for the first time in five months was not enough to help the currency hold on to earlier gains. Investors were also turning their attention to labor market reports on both sides of the border at the end of the week, leaving the currency to consolidate after a recent run higher. The trade surplus stood at C$290 million ($264 million), coming in better than analysts expected as exports rose to their highest level since before the 2008 recession. Still, January's trade balance was revised lower. While the strength in exports and imports was encouraging, the figures did not yet show significant improvement, said Mark Chandler, head of Canadian fixed income and currency strategy at Royal Bank of Canada in Toronto. "We're still expecting more from exports for the quarter as a whole," said Chandler. The export sector has been a focal point for the Bank of Canada, with central bank head Stephen Poloz calling the sector's performance "disappointing". "There's some very early signs that we might be seeing the positive benefits of a weaker loonie on trade, but it's still relatively early and it does take some time for that to make its way through the rest of the economy," said Mazen Issa, senior Canada macro strategist at TD Securities in Toronto. The Canadian dollar ended the North American session at C$1.1039 to the greenback, or 90.59 U.S. cents, slightly weaker than Wednesday's close of C$1.1035, or 90.62 U.S. cents. Overseas, the European Central Bank kept interest rates steady but the euro was lower against the Canadian dollar after the ECB opened the door to the use of unconventional measures to keep inflation from staying too low. Employment reports in both Canada and the United States will set the tone for trading on Friday morning. In Canada, hiring is expected to have picked back up in March after the economy shed jobs in February. Canadian government bond prices were mixed across the maturity curve, with the two-year off 0.8 Canadian cent to yield 1.101 percent and the benchmark 10-year up 7 Canadian cents to yield 2.544 percent. (Editing by Andrew Hay)
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