CANADA FX DEBT-C$ firms as oil prices climb, central bank speech awaited

* Canadian dollar at C$1.3444, or 74.38 U.S. cents

* Bond prices lower across the yield curve

TORONTO, June 12 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar strengthened against its U.S. counterpart on Monday as oil prices rose and ahead of a speech by Bank of Canada Senior Deputy Governor Carolyn Wilkins. Gains for the loonie follow surprisingly strong domestic jobs data on Friday that boosted the argument for the Bank of Canada to raise interest rates. Wilkins will give a speech on the economy. The central bank will release her prepared remarks at 1:20 p.m. ET (1720 GMT). Last week, Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz said he is comforted by recent signs of economic strength even as the central bank warned that rising consumer debt levels and an unbalanced housing market have raised households' financial vulnerabilities. Prices of oil, one of Canada's major exports, rose to break a three-day losing streak after futures traders increased their bets on a renewed price upswing.

U.S. crude prices were up 1.57 percent at $46.55 a


The U.S. dollar dipped against a basket of major

currencies ahead of Wednesday's decision by the Federal Reserve on U.S. interest rates, while the euro was lifted by the results of elections in France and Italy.

At 9:20 a.m. ET (1320 GMT), the Canadian dollar was

trading at C$1.3444 to the greenback, or 74.38 U.S. cents, up 0.2 percent. The currency traded in a range of C$1.3432 to C$1.3465. On Friday, it touched its strongest since late May at C$1.3424. The foreign exchange options market is showing much less risk of a sharp drop in the Canadian dollar than before last November's U.S. presidential election, which could spell bad news for speculators who have heavily shorted the currency.

Net short positions on the loonie were trimmed for a second straight week to 94,501 contracts as of June 6 from 98,187 a week earlier, data from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and Reuters calculations showed on Friday but held near a record high. Canadian government bond prices were lower across the yield curve in sympathy with U.S. Treasuries. The two-year dipped 1.5 Canadian cents to yield 0.747 percent, and the

10-year declined 7 Canadian cents to yield 1.432

percent. On Tuesday, the 10-year yield had touched its lowest intraday level in nearly seven months at 1.373 percent.

(Reporting by Fergal Smith; Editing by W Simon)