TORONTO, March 1 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar strengthened after Statistics Canada said quarterly economic growth beat estimates, raising the possibility that the Bank of Canada hikes rates sooner than expected.
The Canadian dollar rose to a session high of C$1.0485 to the U.S. dollar, or 95.37 U.S. cents, from C$1.0528 to the U.S. dollar, or 94.98 U.S. cents, just before the data was released. It was also up from Friday's close at C$1.0525, or 95.01 U.S. cents.
Strong consumer spending and new housing construction boosted Canada's annualized economic growth for the fourth quarter of 2009 to 5.0 percent, Statistics Canada said, exceeding market expectations of a 4.1 percent increase. [ID:nN01244875](Reporting by Ka Yan Ng; Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson)
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