* C$ at 1.0324 vs U.S. dollar, or 96.86 U.S. cents * Bond prices mixed By Allison Martell TORONTO, Aug 8 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar gained against its U.S. counterpart on Thursday after strong economic data out of China took thin volume summer markets by surprise. Canada's currency strengthened by nearly a full cent after China reported both exports and imports rose more than expected, easing fears that a slowdown in the world's second-largest economy could threaten global growth. "Investors seem to have put an inordinate amount of faith in one month's trade data from China," said Shaun Osborne, chief currency strategist at TD Securities. China is the top consumer of many raw materials, so its fortunes have a big impact on commodity prices, and Canada's currency tends to move with commodity prices because of its significant mining and oil and gas industries. It ended the North American session at 1.0324 to the U.S. dollar, or 96.86 U.S. cents, compared with C$1.0423, or 95.94 U.S. cents, at Wednesday's close. Mark Chandler, head of Canadian fixed-income and currency strategy at Royal Bank of Canada, said concerns about weaker growth in Asian economies "got some reprieve with the import data from China." But he also said light-volume trading likely exaggerated the Canadian dollar's gains. "Markets have been pretty thin." When trading volumes are light, financial markets are often more volatile. Prices for Canadian government debt were mixed, with the two-year bond up half a Canadian cent to yield 1.142 percent, and the benchmark 10-year bond rising 4 Canadian cents to yield 2.499 percent.