CANADA FX DEBT-Greece, oil, data drive C$ to near 7-week high
* C$ firms to C$0.9638 to the U.S. dollar, or $1.0376
* Touches strongest point since May 13
* Relief over Greek debt improves risk appetite
* Better-than-expected Canadian data supports
* Bond prices mostly lower
By Trish Nixon
TORONTO, June 30 (Reuters) - Canada's dollar strengthened to a near seven-week high against the greenback on Thursday, boosted by commodity price gains, an easing of Greece's debt woes and slightly better-than-expected domestic economic data.
World stocks and the euro rose to their highest in three weeks as Greece approved the final austerity measures to secure international funding and avoid bankruptcy. The news also boosted commodity prices. [MKTS/GLOB]
"It's the more positive approach to risk that is supporting the Canadian dollar," said Shaun Osborne, chief currency strategist at TD Securities.
He pointed to the euro's rally and selloff in the U.S. dollar, which had been the destination for some safe-haven flows leading into the Greek votes.
Osborne said domestic economic data also helped support the Canadian dollar.
Gross domestic product (GDP) was unchanged in April following 0.3 percent growth in March, Statistics Canada said on Thursday. This was slightly better than the average forecast of a 0.1 percent decline. [ID:nN1E75T0ER]
On Wednesday, data showed that inflation in Canada reached its highest since May 2003, raising the prospect the central bank could lift interest rates sooner than had been expected. [ID:nN1E75S02V]
"We had much stronger-than-expected inflation data and now stronger-than-expected GDP data, so both will factor into expectations for the Bank of Canada, pulling forward the expectations of the market," said Camilla Sutton, chief currency strategist at Scotia Capital.
Overnight index swaps, which trade based on expectations for the key central bank rate, showed that traders on Thursday priced in a slightly higher probability of rate hikes later this year following the GDP data, though a full 25-basis-point rate hike was not priced in until 2012. BOCWATCH
Higher interest rates tend to help a country's currency appreciate because they often attract international capital flows.
Rising oil and copper prices also helped lift the commodity-sensitive Canadian dollar, as oil climbed toward $113 a barrel and copper hit its highest in two months. [O/R] [MET/L]
At 12:20 a.m. (1620 GMT), the currency CAD=D4 stood at C$0.9638 to the U.S. dollar, or $1.0376, up from Wednesday's finish at C$0.9706 to the U.S. dollar, or $1.0303.
Earlier it hit a session high of C$0.9632, or $1.0382, its strongest since May 13.
Osborne said he expects to see continued strength from the Canadian dollar in the short-term.
"It may not extend that much more today, but I would expect pretty good (U.S. dollar) resistance now back toward C$0.97 or C$0.975, and potentially a move back down toward C$0.95 over the next week or two," he said.
Canadian bond prices were lower across the curve as investors sought riskier assets.
The two-year bond CA2YT=RR was down 6 Canadian cents to yield 1.59 percent, while the 10-year bond CA10YT=RR fell 20 Canadian cents to yield 3.11 percent. (With additional reporting by Solarina Ho; Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson)
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