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CANADA FX DEBT-C$ keeps to narrow range as investors brace for key GDP data

By Fergal Smith

(Adds dealer quotes and details throughout; updates prices) * Canadian dollar trades near flat against the greenback * Price of U.S. oil increases by 0.2% * Canada's current account deficit widens to C$9.86 billion * Canadian bond prices rise across the yield curve By Fergal Smith TORONTO, Nov 28 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar was little changed against its U.S. counterpart on Thursday, sticking to a narrow range as U.S.-China tensions rose and domestic GDP data loomed that could guide Bank of Canada interest rate expectations. Canada's gross domestic product data is due on Friday, which is expected to show that the economy slowed in the third quarter. "If the number were to come in lower than expectations, then I think what you would find is Canadian dollar bears will instantly expect more dovish comments from the Bank of Canada next week," said Brad Schruder, director of corporate sales and structuring at BMO Capital Markets. The Bank of Canada will make an interest rate decision on Dec. 4. Last month, the central bank cut its economic growth forecasts and expressed concern about global trade uncertainty. Still, a slim majority of economists in a Reuters poll expect the bank to leave rates on hold through to the end of next year. A four-day rally that had lifted world stocks to near-record highs stalled after China said it would retaliate for U.S. legislation backing Hong Kong's protesters, leaving investors concerned as to the extent of the Chinese response. "We all are waiting to see what is going to happen (to the markets) when everyone returns to work," Schruder said. U.S. stock and bond markets were closed for Thanksgiving. At 3:29 p.m. (2029 GMT), the Canadian dollar was trading nearly unchanged at 1.3280 to the greenback, or 75.30 U.S. cents. The currency traded in a range between 1.3278 to 1.3299. U.S. crude oil futures clawed back earlier losses, rising 0.2% to $58.24 a barrel. Oil is one of Canada's major exports. Canada's current account deficit widened to C$9.86 billion in the third quarter from a revised C$6.74 billion deficit in the second quarter, on a higher deficit on goods, Statistics Canada said. Analysts had forecast a deficit of C$9 billion. Separate data from Statistics Canada showed that average weekly earnings of non-farm payroll employees rose at an annual rate of 4% in September, while the number of payroll employees declined by 28,000 for the month. Canadian government bond prices were higher across the yield curve, with the two-year up 2.5 Canadian cents to yield 1.588% and the 10-year rising 13 Canadian cents to yield 1.460%. (Reporting by Fergal Smith Editing by Alistair Bell and Nick Zieminski)