(Updates with new details, market reaction, comment from Knightsbridge) * Canadian dollar at C$1.2230 or 81.77 U.S. cents * Bond prices mixed across the maturity curve By Solarina Ho TORONTO, April 20 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar held steady against a firmer U.S. dollar on Monday and also remained stronger against all other major currencies after last week's rally, with higher crude prices offering additional support.
The loonie touched its strongest level since January on Friday after better-than-forecast domestic data and a more optimistic tone from the Bank of Canada tempered any expectation another rate hike was on the horizon.
"It's found a nice home in terms of where it will be for the rest of this week," said Rahim Madhavji, president at Knightsbridge Foreign Exchange, noting the lack of top-tier economic data this week.
"For the most part, the Canadian dollar has had a strong rally based off of some of the inflation data and comments from the Bank of Canada. A pretty strong catalyst for the CAD that has really eliminated severe downside risk." The Canadian dollar ended the session at C$1.2230 to the greenback, or 81.77 U.S. cents, little changed from the Bank of Canada's Friday official close of C$1.2228, or 81.78 U.S. cents.
The loonie had strengthened earlier in the session, particularly after Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz reiterated his view that January's surprise interest-rate cut appeared to have been sufficient insurance to buffer the economy against plunging crude prices.
The price of oil, a major export for Canada, rose on Monday following a drop in stockpiles at the delivery point for U.S. crude, a move that outweighed pressure from Saudi Arabia, the world's top crude exporter, which is expected to keep production at near record levels.
U.S. crude prices were up 1.09 percent to $56.35, while Brent crude was unchanged at $63.45.
"That's been a boost for the Canadian dollar," said Madhavji, adding that he expected the currency to be rangebound between C$1.21 and C$1.25 over the coming weeks.
Canadian government bond prices were mixed across the maturity curve, with the longer-term maturities falling. The two-year price was down 2.5 Canadian cents to yield 0.642 percent and the benchmark 10-year fell 19 Canadian cents to yield 1.425 percent.
The Canada-U.S. two-year bond spread was 11.8 basis points, while the 10-year spread was -45.8 basis points.
(Reporting by Solarina Ho; Editing by W Simon and Ted Botha)