CANADA FX DEBT-C$ firms on softer greenback, steady oil

* Canadian dollar at C$1.3542 or 73.84 U.S. cents
    * Bond prices higher across the maturity curve

    By Solarina Ho
    TORONTO, Dec 29 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar strengthened
against its U.S. counterpart on Thursday, as oil prices held
steady and the greenback slipped in tandem with U.S. bond
    The U.S. dollar extended its late fall in the previous
session after data showed contracts to buy previously owned U.S.
homes fell to their lowest level in nearly a year. 
   "With oil at $54 a barrel and U.S. interest rates drifting a
little bit lower over the last week, I don't think USD/CAD
belongs above $1.35," said Greg Anderson, global head of foreign
exchange strategy at BMO Capital Markets in New York.
    At 10:05 a.m. ET (1505 GMT), the Canadian dollar 
was trading at C$1.3542 to the greenback, or 73.84 U.S. cents,
firmer than the Bank of Canada's official close of C$1.3555, or
73.77 U.S. cents.
    The currency's weakest level of the session was C$1.356,
while it touched its strongest level since Monday at C$1.3503.
    "I think today, tomorrow, we'll continue that (strength) and
finish the year below $1.35," Anderson said.
    U.S. crude prices were down 0.24 percent to $53.93 a
barrel, while Brent crude added 0.30 percent to $56.39
in thin year-end holiday trading. 
    Both crude oil benchmarks have made big gains this month
since OPEC and other producers agreed to curb production in an
attempt to balance an over-supplied market.
    Canadian government bond prices were mostly higher across
the maturity curve, with the two-year price flat to
yield 0.779 percent and the benchmark 10-year rising
2 Canadian cents to yield 1.734 percent.
    The Canada-U.S. two-year bond spread was -46.7 basis points,
while the 10-year spread was -75.9 basis points.

 (Reporting by Solarina Ho; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli)