CANADA FX DEBT-C$ firms but stays close to 2009 low
* Canadian dollar at C$1.3021 or 76.80 U.S. cents * Bond prices mixed across the maturity curve By Solarina Ho TORONTO, July 23 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar was firmer against its U.S. counterpart on Thursday after stronger-than-expected Canadian retail sales data, but it was off its highs as the greenback drew strength from a surprisingly steep fall in weekly U.S. jobless claims. The Canadian dollar was bouncing off a sharp drop on Wednesday that had brought it just shy of C$1.3066, its weakest level since March 2009. Canadian retail sales climbed by a higher-than-expected 1.0 percent in May from April, pushed up by sales of new cars, gasoline, electronics and appliances. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast a rise of 0.5 percent. The U.S. claims data, the lowest since 1973, was the latest indicator that the U.S. economy may be ready for an interest rate hike by the Federal Reserve. * At 9:08 a.m. EDT (1308 GMT), the Canadian dollar, which was stronger against most of its counterparts, was at C$1.3021 to the greenback, or 76.80 U.S. cents, firmer than the Bank of Canada's official close of C$1.3037, or 76.70 U.S. cents, on Wednesday. That was the currency's weakest finish in more than a decade, but still off intraday lows hit in 2009. * The currency traded between C$1.2946 and C$1.3047 on Thursday morning. * There is no major economic data for Canada until next Tuesday. The biggest market driver in the week ahead will be the U.S. Federal Reserve's monetary policy decision due on Wednesday. * Canadian government bond prices were mixed across the maturity curve, with the two-year price flat to yield 0.431 percent and the benchmark 10-year rising 1 Canadian cent to yield 1.538 percent. * The Canada-U.S. two-year bond spread was -29.6 basis points, while the 10-year spread was -80.0 basis points. (Reporting by Solarina Ho; Editing by Peter Galloway)
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