* C$ up at C$1.0195 to the USD, or 98.09 U.S. cents
* BoC keeps rate stance, but seen as slightly more hawkish
* Bond prices flat across curve
TORONTO, March 25 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar firmed up on Thursday, lifted by rising commodity prices and a speech by Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney that was interpreted by some in the market as slightly more hawkish on raising interest rates.
At 7:50 a.m. (1150 GMT), the Canadian dollar was at C$1.0195 to the U.S. dollar, or 98.09 U.S. cents, up from Wednesday's finish at C$1.0253 to the U.S. dollar, or 97.53 U.S. cents.
"I think there's a bit of a delayed reaction to the Bank of Canada Carney's comments yesterday, which most in the market probably interpreted as being a little bit more hawkish and that perhaps the expectation for the first Bank of Canada interest rate hike may have moved back to the June date as opposed to the July date," said David Bradley, director of foreign exchange trading at Scotia Capital.
Carney said on Wednesday the bank is monitoring firm inflation numbers, and said that higher than expected consumer prices in Canada have been the result of both transitory factors and underlying economic strength. He also put extra emphasis on the conditionality of the bank's commitment to current ultra-low rates in language not used before. [ID:nBAC002384]
Bradley said another key factor supporting the currency's rise was a weak U.S. dollar, which helped to push up the price of oil and gold, key Canadian exports. [O/R] [GOL/]
The Canadian dollar's move higher comes after the currency fell to its lowest point in two weeks on Wednesday, pressured by lower oil and equity prices as well as heightened investor worries about sovereign debt in Greece, Portugal and others.
Sovereign debt worries will remain in the spotlight on Thursday, with investors continuing to show concern about stability in the euro zone on the back of ongoing Greek troubles and Wednesday's downgrade of Portuguese debt, as the European Union kicks off a two day summit. [MKTS/GLOB] [ID:nLDE62N2R1]
With no major market moving data on tap in Canada, bond prices were flat across the curve, while the sell-off in U.S. Treasuries eased in Europe on Thursday before the last of this week's debt auctions. [US/]
The two-year government bondwas a hair higher, up 1 Canadian cent at C$99.64 to yield 1.693 percent, while the 10-year bond edged 4 Canadian cents higher at C$101.60 to yield 3.544 percent. (Reporting by Jennifer Kwan, Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)
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