CANADA FX DEBT-C$ hits 3-week high ahead of domestic GDP data
* C$ firms to C$0.9691, or $1.0319, near three-week high
* Bonds firm across the curve
TORONTO, March 31 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar rose to near three-week highs against the U.S. currency on Thursday, as oil continued to provide support ahead of key domestic economic data.
Traders are expected to digest Canada's gross domestic product numbers for January, which come out at 8:30 a.m. (1330 GMT). ECONCA
Expectations are that GDP rose 0.5 percent in January -- a solid start to the year and potentially enough for an upgraded economic outlook by the Bank of Canada in its Monetary Policy Report in April, but likely not enough to spur the central bank to raise interest rates next month. CAGDPM=ECI
At 7:54 a.m. or (1254 GMT), the Canadian dollar was at C$0.9691 to the U.S. dollar, or $1.0319.
"CAD is benefiting from strength in the price of oil this morning," Jack Spitz, managing director of foreign Exchange at National Bank of Canada said in a note to clients.
"(GDP data is) likely to underscore the continued strength of the Canadian economy. Strong GDP numbers may further add to the case for renewed hawkishness from the Bank of Canada."
The currency hit a three-week high of C$0.9683, or $1.0327 very early morning. This was its highest level since March 9, when it reached C$0.9667, or $1.0344 and was its strongest level since November 2007. [ID:nN09287031]
Crude oil prices firmed, with Brent crude heading into its biggest quarterly gain in nearly two years as Middle East supply worries continued to weigh. $100-plus oil has been a boon for the commodity-linked Canadian dollar with oil a major export for the country. [O/R]
Canadian bond prices were mostly higher across the curve, mirroring U.S. Treasury movements. Investors were cautious ahead of the influential U.S. non-farm paryoll data for March, to be released on Friday. [US/]
The two-year bond CA2YT=RR was up 1 Canadian cent to yield 1.770 percent, while the 10-year bond CA10YT=RR added 03 Canadian cents to yield 3.284 percent. (Reporting by Solarina Ho; editing by Jeffrey Hodgson)
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