* C$ at C$1.0257 versus US$, or 97.49 U.S. cents
* Robust jobs reports in both countries boost currency
* C$ sharply stronger against euro, franc, Aussie, yen
By Alastair Sharp
TORONTO, March 8 The Canadian dollar
strengthened sharply on Friday to hit a one-week high after much
better-than-expected jobs growth in February in both Canada and
its main trading partner, the United States.
Canada added almost 51,000 jobs in the month, with strong
gains in services industries that vaulted the total well past
the 8,000 additions expected by analysts surveyed by Reuters.
U.S. employers also stepped up hiring, pushing the
unemployment rate to a four year-low, suggesting the world's
biggest economy is gaining traction despite the blow from higher
taxes and deep government spending cuts.
"It's hard to separate the impact given that we had two
pretty stellar reports on employment in Canada and the U.S. so
it looks like the strength may persist throughout the rest of
the day," said Mazen Issa, a macro strategist at TD Securities.
The Canadian currency got to C$1.0234 to the
greenback, or 97.71 U.S. cents, soon after the employment data,
its best rate since Feb 28.
It had changed hands at C$1.0288 just before the release and
C$1.0294 at Thursday's North American close. It later pared the
gains slightly to trade at C$1.0257, or 97.49 U.S. cents.
The gains against the greenback came despite the U.S.
dollar's sharp rise against a string of other currencies.
Canada's currency strengthened against the Australian dollar
and Japanese yen. It gained two Canadian
cents versus the euro and more than a cent against
the Swiss franc to hit its strongest level since late
January versus both those currencies.
Government bonds sold off sharply, with the two-year bond
down 8 Canadian cents to yield 0.998 percent and the
benchmark 10-year bond falling 54 Canadian cents to
yield 1.944 percent.
Overnight index swaps, which trade based on expectations for
the central bank's key policy rate, showed that after the data
traders trimmed their already small bets on a rate cut in late