CANADA FX DEBT-C$ near 1-month high after strong domestic jobs report
* Canadian dollar at C$1.0972 or 91.14 U.S. cents * Bond prices mostly higher across the maturity curve By Leah Schnurr TORONTO, April 4 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar strengthened on Friday against the greenback to its highest in nearly a month, bolstered by data that showed the domestic economy added twice as many jobs as expected in March. Employers created 42,900 jobs last month, well ahead of the 20,000 that analysts had expected, while the unemployment rate declined for the first time this year, to 6.9 percent. "It was a pleasant upside surprise for March, which is good news in the context of the weakness we saw in February," said Craig Wright, chief economist at Royal Bank of Canada in Toronto. Canada had shed 7,000 jobs in February. At the same time, separate data south of the border showed U.S. employers kept up a steady pace of hiring last month with 192,000 new jobs. Still, the figure was slightly below expectations and the divergence between the U.S. and Canadian numbers helped further support the loonie. "The combination of an as-expected U.S. report and a solid Canadian number has given the Canadian dollar a bit of a boost," said Doug Porter, chief economist at BMO Capital Markets in Toronto. "I don't believe either report is a real game changer, I don't think either one changes the broader landscape of the North American economy, but at least for today this is a nice boost for the loonie." The Canadian dollar was at C$1.0972 to the greenback, or 91.14 U.S. cents, stronger than Thursday's close of C$1.1039, or 90.59 U.S. cents. The loonie hit a session high of C$1.0957 shortly after the jobs reports were released, the lowest level since early March. The strong report was still unlikely to alter the Bank of Canada's stance, analysts said. The central bank has been a major driver of the Canadian dollar's direction since it shifted the tone of its policy last year. Canadian government bond prices were mostly higher across the maturity curve, though the two-year was off 1-1/2 Canadian cents to yield 1.110 percent. The benchmark 10-year was up 24 Canadian cents to yield 2.522 percent. (Additional reporting by Andrea Hopkins and Alastair Sharp; Editing by Nick Zieminski)
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