* C$ rises to 98.15 U.S. cents
* Bonds fall across curve as risk appetite mounts
TORONTO, Dec 1 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar was firmer against the U.S. currency on Wednesday, supported by speculation the European Central Bank may help ease the euro zone debt crisis.
Signs of robust economic growth in China and recovery in parts of Europe lifted world stocks while a relatively successful Portuguese debt sale helped ease short-term fears about the euro zone's debt crisis. [MKTS/GLOB]
There was also growing talk that the European Central Bank could step up purchases of sovereign debt issued by the more highly indebted peripheral euro zone countries. [ID:nLDE6B00SW]
That helped lift the Canadian dollar from a session low of C$1.0272 to the U.S. dollar, or 97.35 U.S. cents. North American equity futures indicated a positive start to Wednesday's session.
The price of oil was also higher. It is often an indicator of the Canadian dollar's direction since Canada is a net exporter of the commodity.
"There was a lot of excitement about the potential for the ECB to mount a more aggressive bond buying program at their interest rate decision tomorrow, so I think markets are temporarily feeling a little bit more secure," said Camilla Sutton, chief currency strategist at Scotia Capital.
"With CAD, having retraced a lot of yesterday's losses, it's really a midperformer."
The currency began the new trading month with a strong advance after recording a 0.6 percent drop in November, its first monthly drop in three months.
At 8:15 a.m. (1315 GMT), the Canadian dollar CAD=D4 was at C$1.0188 to the U.S. dollar, or 98.15 U.S. cents, up from Tuesday's close at C$1.0266 to the greenback, or 97.41 U.S. cents.
Sutton said the 50-day moving average of C$1.0171, and the 100-day moving average of C$1.0280, were key levels being watched.
"It's trading right now right in the middle of its 50- and 100-day moving average. If we drop below the 50-day, that would be bullish Canada."
Canadian government bonds tracked U.S. Treasuries lower as appetite for riskier assets, such as stocks, drew investors away from the relative safety of government debt.
The two-year government of Canada bond CA2YT=RR was off 6 Canadian cents to yield 1.650 percent, while the 10-year bond CA10YT=RR slipped 46 Canadian cents to yield 3.122 percent.
Canada's data calendar is bare until Friday when the November jobs report is published. It will be the last major piece of data to consider before the Bank of Canada's next interest rate decision on Dec. 7, although the market is already pricing near-certainty that the central bank will leave unchanged the target for the overnight interest rate at 1 percent. BOCWATCH
(Reporting by Ka Yan Ng; Editing by Kenneth Barry)