CANADA FX DEBT-C$ strengthens ahead of interest rate decision as oil firms
* Canadian dollar at C$1.2829, or 77.95 U.S. cents * Bond prices higher across the yield curve TORONTO, Sept 7 (Reuters) - The commodity-linked Canadian dollar edged higher against its U.S. counterpart on Wednesday as oil rose, with the loonie hovering near its highest in more than two weeks ahead of a Bank of Canada interest rate decision later in the morning. The Bank of Canada is widely expected to leave interest rates unchanged at 0.5 percent as it waits to see how strongly the economy can rebound after growth shrank in the second quarter. Investors will look at the central bank's statement for its assessment of the economy, particularly the export sector, which is key to the bank's outlook. Exports have been hampered this year by weak U.S. business investment, while a weaker Canadian dollar has not helped exports as much as expected. Still, data on Friday showed exports jumped 3.4 percent in July, hinting at an improvement in exports in the second half of the year. Meanwhile, weaker U.S. data has weighed on the U.S. dollar as it dimmed expectations for a near-term rate hike from the Federal Reserve. Recent weakening in the greenback helped push U.S. crude prices up 0.67 percent to $45.13 a barrel, but the limited likelihood of a near-term agreement among the world's biggest exporters to rein in production kept gains in check. At 9:07 a.m. EDT (1307 GMT), the Canadian dollar was trading at C$1.2829 to the greenback, or 77.95 U.S. cents, stronger than Tuesday's close of C$1.2847, or 77.84 U.S. cents. The currency's weakest level was C$1.2862, while its strongest was C$1.2828. On Tuesday, the Canadian dollar touched its strongest since Aug. 19 at C$1.2827. Canada's August employment report is due on Friday. Investors will be looking to see whether the labor market can recover some of the 31,200 jobs it unexpectedly lost the month before. Canadian government bond prices were higher across the yield curve in sympathy with U.S. Treasuries. The two-year bond firmed 1.5 Canadian cents to yield 0.561 percent and the benchmark 10-year rose 12 Canadian cents to yield 1.013 percent. (Reporting by Fergal Smith; Editing by Nick Zieminski)
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