CANADA FX DEBT-C$ holds steady after inflation, retail sales data
* Canadian dollar at C$1.2410 or 80.58 U.S. cents * Bond prices mixed across the maturity curve By Solarina Ho TORONTO, Jan 23 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar was steady against the greenback on Friday after data showed a surprise jump in Canadian retail sales to a record high in November and an increase in core inflation in December. The currency, battered by this week's shock Bank of Canada rate cut, was higher overnight but then weakened to a 5-1/2 year low after the figures showed Canada's annual inflation rate in December dropped to 1.5 percent from 2.0 percent, a nine-month low. But core inflation, which is closely watched by the Bank of Canada and which strips out the prices of volatile items such as gasoline, increased to 2.2 percent from 2.1 percent. Retail sales for November rose 0.4 percent to a record C$43.03 billion, helped by sales of new electronics products. Analysts had, on average, expected a decline of 0.2 percent. "Very short term, in terms of markets, the surprise was larger on the retail side so we see a little bit of a rally in the Canadian dollar but we're not even close to where we opened today," said David Tulk, chief Canada macro strategist at TD Securities. "This is close enough to what people were looking for and more generally, I think everyone's still in shock after the Bank of Canada move." At 9:14 a.m. (1414 GMT), the Canadian dollar was at C$1.2410 to the greenback, or 80.58 U.S. cents, stronger than it was just before the data's release, but little changed from Thursday's close of C$1.2404, or 80.62 U.S. cents. The currency was well off the C$1.2360, or 80.91 U.S. cents, it had strengthened to overnight. Reaction to Friday's data was tempered by the Bank of Canada's 0.25 basis point interest rate cut to 0.75 percent that blindsided financial markets earlier this week. Markets were still absorbing the impact of the move, which the bank said was "insurance" against the impact of low crude prices on the economy of Canada, a major oil-producing nation. Canadian government bond prices were mixed across the maturity curve, with the two-year flat, yielding 0.55 percent and the benchmark 10-year climbing 16.6 Canadian cents to yield 1.516 percent. (Editing by Peter Galloway)
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