CANADA FX DEBT-C$ holds on to gains as Canada's bond yields climb

    * Canadian dollar at C$1.2119, or 82.52 U.S. cents
    * Bond prices lower across the yield curve
    * 2-year yield touches 6-year high at 1.643 percent

    By Solarina Ho
    TORONTO, Sept 11 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar firmed on
Monday against the U.S. dollar, supported by further gains in
Canada's bond yields after the country's central bank surprised
some investors last week by raising interest rates.
    A string of robust economic news pushed the Bank of Canada
to hike rates for the second time in three months, a move that
helped drive the loonie nearly 2 percent higher last week. The
July move was the Bank's first hike in nearly seven years.
    "The story has changed when it comes to Canada's economy,"
said Brad Schruder, director of corporate sales and structuring
at BMO Capital Markets.
    "Once, the loonie was a global currency that you would look
to sell on strength. Now, I think it's fair to say the
international community looks to the Canadian dollar as a
currency you want to buy on weakness."
    The 2-year yield, which has jumped as much as 99 basis
points since mid-May, touched its highest since June 2011 at
1.643 percent, before pairing gains. The yield stood at 1.548
    At 4 p.m. ET (2000 GMT), the Canadian dollar          was
trading at C$1.2119 to the greenback, or 82.52 U.S. cents, up
0.3 percent.
    The currency, which was outperforming major currency
counterparts, traded in a range of C$1.2098 to C$1.2170. On
Friday, it touched its strongest since May 2015 at C$1.2063.
    Prices of oil, one of Canada's major exports, also moved
higher, settling up 59 cents, or 1.24 percent at $48.07 a
    U.S. crude oil prices       , which declined more than 3
percent on Friday, seesawed during the session, with Hurricane
Irma raising demand fears, while U.S. refinery restarts and
Saudi talks to extend a production cut deal provided support.
    Speculators have increased bullish bets on the loonie, data
from the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission and Reuters
calculations showed on Friday. Canadian dollar net long
positions edged up to 53,644 contracts as of Sept. 5 from 53,167
a week earlier.                 
    The U.S. dollar        gained ground as renewed interest in
riskier assets prompted some investors to cut short bets against
the greenback before U.S. inflation data this week.             
    Canadian government bond prices were lower across the yield
curve as demand faded for safe-haven government bonds.
    The 10-year             declined 35 Canadian cents to yield
2.025 percent. The yield reached its highest intraday since July
31 at 2.042 percent.
    Canadian housing starts rose unexpectedly in August, data
from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation showed.

 (Reporting by Solarina Ho; Additional reporting by Fergal
Smith; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli and Jonathan Oatis)