CANADA FX DEBT-Wholesale sales data, crude push C$ higher
* Canadian dollar at C$1.1306 or 88.45 U.S. cents * Bond prices rise across the maturity curve By Solarina Ho TORONTO, Nov 20 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar rose nearly half a cent against its U.S. counterpart on Thursday as stronger than expected September wholesale sales data in Canada fueled a robust outlook for gross domestic product figures for that month. Wholesale sales jumped 1.8 percent in September to a record C$54.03 billion, the latest economic data to signal stronger Canadian economic growth. Economists had forecast a rise of 0.8 percent. "Wholesale sales was surprisingly quite strong - much higher than what was expected generally by the market. It really crushed what the expectations were," said Rahim Madhavji, president at KnightsbridgeFX.com. The robust figures will likely push September GDP growth up by about 0.3 percent, though the final figures won't be confirmed until next week's retail sales data. "It does look as though we'll bounce back after a very weak July and August. If we get a good October, that will bode pretty well for the fourth quarter," said Benjamin Reitzes, senior economist at BMO Capital Markets. The Canadian dollar, which was outperforming nearly all other major currencies, closed at C$1.1306 to the U.S. dollar, or 88.45 U.S. cents, stronger than Wednesday's finish of C$1.1351, or 88.10 U.S. cents. Also giving the loonie a lift was higher oil prices that broke a three-day slump, buoyed by a string of strong U.S. economic data. Factory activity in the U.S. mid-Atlantic region grew at its fastest pace in two decades, U.S. home resales jumped to their highest in more than a year in October, and a gauge of future U.S. economic activity gained more than expected last month. Overall, the Canadian dollar remained range bound, with market attention turning to Friday's Canadian consumer price index figures for October, for direction. "That's perhaps the catalyst for the loonie to break through C$1.13 level decisively," said Madhavji. Economists polled by Reuters expect inflation to rise to 2.1 percent from 2 percent, and core inflation holding steady at 2.1 percent. Canadian government bond prices were higher across the maturity curve, with the two-year rising 6.2 Canadian cents to yield 1.045 percent and the benchmark 10-year up 17 Canadian cents to yield 2.018 percent. (Editing by Peter Galloway and Richard Chang)
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