(Adds broker comment, updates prices to close) * Canadian dollar settles at CC$1.3232, or 75.57 U.S. cents * Loonie had hit strongest since Dec. 14 after domestic data * Bond prices lower across steeper maturity curve By Alastair Sharp TORONTO, Jan 6 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar pulled back to end barely stronger against its U.S. counterpart on Friday after touching its strongest in more than three weeks following surprisingly strong employment and trade data.
The Canadian dollar settled at C$1.3232 to the greenback, or 75.57 U.S. cents, slightly stronger than the Bank of Canada's official Thursday close of C$1.3242, or 75.52 U.S. cents.
It had hit C$1.3177, its strongest level since Dec. 14, in morning trade after Canada's economy unexpectedly added 53,700 jobs in December, all of them full-time positions, and also posted its first trade surplus since September 2014.
"You really needed the positive combination to get us below C$1.32 and to stay there I think you're hard pressed to find a justification just given the economic backdrop out there," said Don Mikolich, executive director for foreign exchange sales at CIBC Capital Markets.
Canada's jobs data has a reputation for volatility, while the broader economy has struggled to shake off two years of pain caused by low oil prices.
"We tend to take things with a bit of grain of salt and look at the broader trends," said Jimmy Jean, economic strategist at Desjardins.
The loonie, as Canada's currency is colloquially known, had weakened to nearly C$1.36 in late December and Mikolich said that trading range looked unlikely to be shaken.
The U.S. dollar strengthened against a basket of currencies following U.S. jobs data that showed slower job growth, but an increase in wages, setting the economy up for further interest rate increases from the Federal Reserve.
The Bank of Canada, by contrast, is widely seen holding rates steady throughout 2017.
Canadian government bond prices were lower across a steeper yield curve, with the two-year price down 7.5 Canadian cents to yield 0.762 percent and the benchmark 10-year falling 57 Canadian cents to yield 1.729 percent.
The Canada-U.S. two-year bond spread was -45.8 basis points, while the 10-year spread was -70.5 basis points.
(Additional reporting by Solarina Ho; Editing by Nick Zieminski)