* C$ slips to 97.88 U.S. cents
* Bonds track U.S. Treasuries higher in safe haven bid
* Market focus on Canada GDP for Sept, Q3 due at 1330 GMT
TORONTO, Nov 30 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar was slightly lower against the U.S. currency on Tuesday morning ahead of key economic growth data that may help determine next week's Bank of Canada interest rate decision.
Markets will zero in at 1330 GMT on Canadian economic growth data for September and the third quarter, the first of two major reports this week, but broad external factors such as euro zone debt woes will likely be the dominant influence on trading.[ID:nN26127869]
Third-quarter economic growth is expected to slow further, likely to reflect the cautious external sector, with exports and manufacturing still soft.
The data, along with this Friday's employment report for November, will be the last critical pieces of information that will help determine the Bank of Canada's next monetary policy decision on Dec. 7.
Market pricing already suggests that the central bank is unlikely to change interest rates next week. According to a Reuters calculation of yields on overnight index swaps, which reflect expectations for the policy rate, there is nearly 96 percent likelihood that the bank will stand pat.
"The effect of any economic data will be minimal as they will be overshadowed by the big macro and geopolitical events," said Michael O'Neill, managing director at Knightsbridge Foreign Exchange. He pointed to euro zone contagion fears and ongoing developments in North Korea, which boasted advances in its nuclear programme. [ID:nTOE6AT029] [nTOPNOW6]
Meantime, the Canadian dollar was under some pressure as its risk barometers, as measured by the price of crude and equity market futures, were lower. Uneasiness surrounding euro zone debt problems also remained.
U.S. data may also be influential as the health of the U.S. economy is crucial to Canada's fortunes due to the huge trading link between the two countries. On tap on Tuesday is the Conference Board's index of U.S. consumer attitudes for November, as well as the S&P Case Shiller home price index for September.
O'Neill said the Canadian dollar would likely stick within its recent ranges, and put the daily trading band between C$1.0160-C$1.0250.
At 7:48 a.m. (1248 GMT), the Canadian dollarwas at C$1.0217 to the U.S. dollar, or 97.88 U.S. cents, down from C$1.0186 to the U.S. dollar, or 98.17 U.S. cents, at Monday's close.
Domestic government bonds were higher in a flight-to-safety bid, tracking U.S. Treasuries, as Europe's fiscal crisis weighed.
The two-year government of Canada bondwas up 5 Canadian cents to yield 1.635 percent, while the 10-year bond rose 28 Canadian cents to yield 3.051 percent.
(Reporting by Ka Yan Ng, Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.