CANADA FX DEBT--C$ firms on U.S. jobs data, eye on Bank of Canada
* C$ at C$1.0296 vs US$, or 97.13 U.S. cents * Canadian retail sales rise 0.2 pct in Aug * U.S. adds 148,000 jobs in Sept, below expectations of 180,000 * Bond prices higher across maturity curve By Leah Schnurr TORONTO, Oct 22 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar strengthened modestly against the greenback in volatile Tuesday morning trade as the U.S. currency dropped after a weaker-than-expected jobs report south of the border. Domestically, separate data showed Canadian retail sales edged up in August, though the rise was slightly below economists' expectations. Analysts said the U.S. jobs report garnered more attention in the market. The release, which had been delayed by the U.S. government shutdown, showed the economy added 148,000 jobs last month, suggesting a loss of momentum in the economy. The figures underscored economists' view that the Federal Reserve may maintain the current pace of its economic stimulus efforts for longer than had been expected. "It highlights that even leading into the government shutdown, the employment sector in the U.S. was slowing," said Camilla Sutton, chief currency strategist at Scotiabank in Toronto. That pushes out when the Fed could start to wind down its $85 billion a month in bond purchases "well into 2014," said Sutton. The Canadian dollar was at C$1.0296 versus the greenback, or 97.13 U.S. cents, stronger than Monday's close of C$1.0301, or 97.08 U.S. cents. The loonie hit a session high of C$1.0282 shortly after the data was released. The greenback was down 0.3 percent against a basket of currencies. Canadian retail sales rose 0.2 percent in August, though sales excluding motor vehicles and parts dealers beat forecasts to rise 0.4 percent. Investors also had their attention on an interest rate decision from the Bank of Canada, due on Wednesday. The central bank is expected to keep rates steady at 1 percent. The accompanying statement will be a bigger focal point, with investors sensitive to any change in tone that might indicate when the Bank will eventually raise rates. Analysts said the Bank of Canada could also lower its outlook for growth in its Monetary Policy Report. Government bond prices were higher across the maturity curve with the two-year bond up 4.8 Canadian cents to yield 1.176 percent and the benchmark 10-year bond up 40 Canadian cents to yield 2.504 percent.
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