CANADA FX DEBT-C$ ekes out gains as commodities recoup some losses
* C$ at C$1.0260 vs US$, or 97.47 U.S. cents * U.S. jobless claims help ease concerns over job market * Friday's Canadian inflation data in focus * Bond prices mixed By Solarina Ho TORONTO, April 18 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar was modestly stronger against its U.S. counterpart on Thursday, tracking commodity markets that recouped some of this week's heavy losses. Global markets took a pause amid a lack of major economic news and data after selling off sharply this week on concerns about the global economic outlook. "Broadly speaking, a little bit of a recovery today because of the over-reaction of what we saw yesterday in currency markets. The themes are still the same: Oil, commodities, China, global growth and interest rates," said Rahim Madhavji, president at commercial foreign exchange dealing firm Knightsbridge Foreign Exchange. "If you can predict those, you can predict the loonie. In the short term, the loonie is still seeing a lot of headwind ... Today, it's just fluttering around, really looking for direction." The Canadian dollar, which stayed within a narrow range for most of the North American session, finished at C$1.0260 versus the U.S. dollar, or 97.47 U.S. cents. This was stronger than Wednesday's close at C$1.0266, or 97.41 U.S. cents. The currency sank earlier this week as commodity prices plunged on weaker-than-expected Chinese data. It also weakened against its U.S. counterpart on Wednesday after the Bank of Canada chopped its growth forecasts, although losses were limited by the bank holding to its view that interest rates would need to rise at some point. On Thursday, Brent crude oil gained more than 1 percent and snapped a six-day losing streak, with dealers saying it looked oversold. "It's slightly improved risk sentiment. It follows almost three or four days of very negative sentiment," said Charles St-Arnaud, economist and currency strategist at Nomura Securities in New York. Gold prices also rose in volatile trading, though overall sentiment remained jittery. U.S. data showed the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits rose only slightly last week, holding near a level economists normally associate with average monthly job gains of more than 150,000. This helped ease concerns of a deterioration in labor market conditions. Canadian inflation data on Friday, which is expected to be very tame, is the only major economic report remaining this week. Canadian government bond prices were mixed, with the two-year bond shedding 1.5 of a Canadian cent to yield 0.940 percent, while the benchmark 10-year bond climbed 9 Canadian cents to yield 1.704 percent.
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