* C$ firms to C$0.9679, or $1.0332
* Bonds mostly lower as investors shed safe-haven assets
* U.S. March non-farm payrolls expected to be strong
By Solarina Ho
TORONTO, April 1 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar hit a three-week high against the greenback on Friday as oil boosted the commodity-linked Canadian currency before key U.S. economic data.
A strong reading was anticipated for the March non-farm payrolls, due at 8:30 a.m. (1230 GMT), with analysts forecasting that the U.S. economy added 190,000 jobs last month. The data is key in terms of shedding light on the U.S. economic recovery and comes a day after hawkish U.S. Federal Reserve comments. [FRX/]
"The immediate reaction if you get a stronger-than-expected employment report is it will buoy the U.S. dollar relative to most other currencies," said Paul Ferley, assistant chief economist at Royal Bank of Canada.
"However, I think recognition will be given to the fact that a stronger U.S. probably provides a bit more of a lift to commodity prices, so I think any weakness in Canada will be more muted to what we might see relative to euro and yen."
At 7:57 a.m. (1157 GMT), the currency CAD=D4 stood at C$0.9679 to the U.S. dollar, or $1.0332, up from Thursday's North American finish of C$0.9696, or $1.0314. It had hit a session high of C$0.9670 early in the morning.
This was the strongest showing for the Canadian dollar since March 9, when the currency hit C$0.9667, or $1.0344, the strongest level since November 2007.
Oil, a key Canadian export, rose ahead of the U.S. data on upbeat expectations. Brent crude was close to $118 a barrel, near its highest level in nearly four weeks, and U.S. crude rose to over $107 a barrel, also near multiyear highs. Fighting in Libya, an OPEC producer, helped underpin the strength. [O/R]
Canadian bond prices were mostly weaker across the curve, tracking U.S. Treasuries. Investors shed safe-haven assets for stocks and other riskier bets in anticipation of the strong jobs data. [US/]
The two-year bond CA2YT=RR was down 8 Canadian cents to yield 1.872 percent, while the 10-year bond CA10YT=RR lost 12 Canadian cents to yield 3.368 percent. (Reporting by Solarina Ho; Editing by Kenneth Barry)