* C$ rises above parity to $1.0026
* Bonds softer across the curve as investors eye data
* BoC's Tiff Macklem speaks in Alberta on productivity
TORONTO, Feb 1 (Reuters) - Canada's dollar returned to above parity against a broadly softer U.S. dollar on Tuesday, though gains were held in check by a softer price of oil.
The currencyskidded nearly a penny in the previous session, hitting its lowest level this year before paring losses, after Finance Minister Jim Flaherty's cautious remarks on employment prompted investors to price in a weak January jobs figure on Friday.[ID:nN31250834] [ID:nN31215923]
By Tuesday morning, the U.S. dollar had tumbled across the board, hitting a 2 1/2-month trough against a currency basket as investors highlighted expectations the U.S. Federal Reserve will lag far behind other central banks -- notably the European Central Bank and the Bank of England -- in raising interest rates. [FRX/]
The price of oil, often a driver of Canada's currency, eased slightly as the market assessed the risk of Egypt's social unrest spreading to neighbouring OPEC members. [O/R]
At 8:10 a.m. (1310 GMT), the Canadian currency was at C$0.9974 to the U.S. dollar, or $1.0026, up from C$1.0015 to the U.S. dollar, or 99.85 U.S. cents, when it had finished below parity for a second straight session.
"It's a very weak day in general for the U.S. dollar, so on these kind of days, Canada's underperforming on the crosses but still able to eke out some gains against the U.S. dollar," said Sacha Tihanyi, currency strategist at Scotia Capital.
"As we seen in the past month, it's been a restrained trading range for the Canadian dollar in general."
Analysts were eyeing a daily range of C$0.9960-C$1.10 to the U.S. dollar.
No Canadian data is expected until the end of the week when Statistics Canada releases the employment report for January, and, on average, analysts expect a gain of 15,000 jobs in the month, according to Reuters estimates. The jobless rate is expected to remain steady at 7.6 percent. [ID:nN28144465]
But the spotlight will be on Bank of Canada Senior Deputy Governor Tiff Macklem, who is speaking in Alberta on Tuesday and Wednesday about Canada's productivity.
Macklem may repeat Governor Mark Carney's recent warnings that a persistent strength in the Canadian dollar could reinforce drag on trade, Tihanyi said. [ID:nN27191953]
Prices for Canadian bonds were lower across the curve, tracking their U.S. counterparts, as investors shifted their focus from Middle East turmoil and global stocks were bid on improved economic data and corporate results. [MKTS/GLOB]
The U.S. Institute for Supply Management's (ISM) January report on manufacturing activity, due at 1500 GMT, is expected the main index at 58.0, reflecting expansion.
The two-year bondslipped 4 Canadian cents to yield 1.691 percent, while the 10-year bond was down 30 Canadian cents to yield 3.312 percent.
(Reporting by Ka Yan Ng, Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)
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