CANADA FX DEBT-C$ weakens with range-bound trade expected for now

* Canadian dollar at C$1.2969, or 77.11 U.S. cents

* Bond prices mixed across the maturity curve

March 15 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar weakened modestly against the greenback on Thursday, with analysts expecting the currency to be stuck in a range following dovish comments from the central bank earlier this week.

* At 8:12 a.m. EDT (1212 GMT), the Canadian dollar was trading down 0.1 percent at C$1.2969 to the greenback, or 77.11 U.S. cents.

* The currency's strongest level of the session was C$1.2946, while its weakest level was C$1.2979.

* Investors were looking ahead to domestic reports on consumer debt and home sales later in the morning.

* An increase in the price of oil helped cap declines in the loonie as crude followed global equity markets higher. U.S.

crude prices were up 0.49 percent at $61.26 a barrel, while Brent crude was 0.39 percent higher at $65.14.

* Still, analysts expect it will be difficult for the Canadian dollar to make substantial gains in the short-term after comments from the head of the central bank suggested policymakers will take their time raising interest rates further.

* The Canadian dollar "appears vulnerable to renewed near-term weakness," analysts at Scotiabank wrote in a note, though they expect to see strength into the spring and summer.

* Canadian government bond prices were mixed across the

maturity curve, with the two-year down 0.5 Canadian

cent in price to yield 1.779 percent and the benchmark 10-year rising 4 Canadian cents to yield 2.156 percent.

(Reporting by Leah Schnurr in Ottawa; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)