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CANADA FX DEBT-C$ barely stronger ahead of busy week of domestic data

* Canadian dollar at C$1.2863, or 77.74 U.S. cents

* Bond prices lower across the yield curve

TORONTO, Dec 18 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar barely gained against a broadly weaker U.S. counterpart on Monday, trading in a narrow range ahead of domestic data later in the week that could help guide expectations for the interest rate outlook.

At 4 p.m. EST (2100 GMT), the Canadian dollar was

trading at C$1.2863 to the greenback, or 77.74 U.S. cents. The currency traded in a range of C$1.2843 to C$1.2881. Wholesale trade data for October is due on Wednesday while Canada's inflation report for November and October retail sales data are expected on Thursday, and gross domestic product data for October is due on Friday. "This is a pretty heavy week in terms of data," said Bipan Rai, director of foreign exchange strategy at CIBC Capital Markets. "There's a lot there that could drive direction in the near term." The loonie dipped 0.1 percent last week after being pressured on Friday by weaker-than-expected domestic manufacturing data. The currency also fluctuated last week on remarks by Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz. Poloz said he worried about the potential to slip into a "deflationary scenario" if interest rates are raised too fast to deal with financial imbalances in an interview with the Globe and Mail published on Saturday. Still, the central bank is leaving the door open to further rate hikes in early 2018, making clear a number of uncertainties that could derail the economy, such as North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) renegotiation, are reason for caution but not inaction. NAFTA negotiators made some progress on less controversial issues last week but left untouched the thorniest subjects of autos, dispute settlement and an expiry clause to be tackled at pivotal talks in January in Montreal. "Is there room for optimism going forward, or is it going to be as contentious as it was in October?" Rai said, adding that further signs of disagreement could push the loonie out of its recent range. Foreign investment in Canadian securities accelerated in October, driven by a record purchase of bonds, data from Statistics Canada showed.

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

currencies as concerns grew over whether a proposed U.S. tax overhaul program would have a major impact on economic growth.

Canadian government bond prices were lower across the yield

curve, with the two-year down 4 Canadian cents to yield 1.572 percent and the 10-year falling 20

Canadian cents to yield 1.86 percent.

(Reporting by Fergal Smith and Alastair Sharp; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Matthew Lewis)