CANADA FX DEBT-C$ firms vs weaker greenback as oil prices rise

* Canadian dollar at C$1.2523, or 79.85 U.S. cents

* Bond prices lower across the yield curve

TORONTO, Jan 4 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar edged higher against its U.S. counterpart on Thursday as the greenback fell broadly and oil prices rose, while investors awaited U.S. and Canadian jobs data on Friday. A report showing that the U.S. economy created more private-sector jobs than expected last month lent some support

to the U.S. dollar . But the greenback was still lower

against a basket of major currencies. The price of oil, one of Canada's major exports, rose to its highest since May 2015, supported by unrest in Iran that has fueled concerns about supply risks, cold weather in the United States which is boosting demand and OPEC-led output cuts.

U.S. crude prices were up 0.28 percent at $61.80 a

barrel. At 9:12 a.m. EST (1412 GMT), the Canadian dollar was trading at C$1.2523 to the greenback, or 79.85 U.S. cents, up 0.1 percent. The currency traded in a range of C$1.2513 to C$1.2555. On Wednesday, it touched its strongest in 2-1/2 months at C$1.2499.

Canada's employment report for December and November trade data are due on Friday, which could help guide expectations for Bank of Canada interest rate hikes in 2018. The central bank raised its benchmark interest rate for the first time in seven years in July and then again in September, putting it at 1 percent. Money markets expect three further rate hikes this year. In domestic data, producer prices rose by 1.4 percent in November from October, on higher prices for energy and petroleum products, Statistics Canada said. Home sales in Toronto, Canada's largest city, fell 18.3 percent in 2017 from the previous year's record as provincial government measures to cool the housing market weighed on demand. Canadian auto sales fell for a second straight month in December, but yearly sales rose by 4.6 percent. Canadian government bond prices were lower across the yield curve in sympathy with U.S. Treasuries. The two-year fell 2.5 Canadian cents to yield 1.697 percent and the 10-year declined 15 Canadian cents to yield 2.07 percent. On Tuesday, the 10-year yield touched its highest level in more than two months at 2.093 percent.

(Reporting by Fergal Smith; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli)