* C$ at C$1.0513 vs US$, or 95.12 U.S. cents * Canadian retail sales fall by a larger-than-expected 0.6 percent By Solarina Ho TORONTO, Aug 22 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar slipped to its weakest level in six weeks against its U.S. counterpart on Thursday, pressured in part by softer-than-expected Canadian retail sales data. Retail sales fell by 0.6 percent in June after a 1.8 percent gain in May, foreshadowing a greater fall in gross domestic product than initially thought, according to Statistics Canada data. Economists had expected sales to fall 0.4 percent. The U.S. dollar also extended gains as Wednesday's release of the Federal Reserve's July policy meeting minutes did not alter market expectations that the central bank will begin scaling back its stimulus program next month. "A September taper has become the global view ... the wider narrative we've always talked about is that this does lead to objective U.S. dollar strength and Canada gets caught in the crossfire," said David Tulk, chief Canada macro strategist at TD Securities. "The other part that makes CAD (the Canadian dollar) an especially poor performer even on the crosses is just looking at some of the weakness that we have in the Canadian data and that came out from today's retail sales report." The Canadian dollar was trading at C$1.0513 versus the greenback, or 95.12 U.S. cents. This was softer than immediately before the data and weaker than Wednesday's North American finish C$1.0473, or 95.48 U.S. cents. The currency, which was underperforming most of its key counterparts except for the Japanese yen and the British pound, briefly touched C$1.0517 to the U.S. dollar, or 95.08 U.S. cents, after the figures were released. This was its weakest level since July 10. In the United States, the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits rose last week, but held close to a six-year low and gave a positive signal for hiring during the month. The price of Canadian government debt mostly rose across the maturity curve, though long-term bonds yields earlier in the session did touch their highest levels in more than two years. The two-year bond rose 2 Canadian cents to yield 1.208 percent, while the benchmark 10-year bond added 1 Canadian cent to yield 2.754 percent.