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Canadian dollar moves higher alongside rising prices for oil, gold

Canadian dollars shown with U.S dollars.

Ryan Remiorz/THE CANADIAN PRESS

The Canadian dollar closed higher Thursday to recover some ground lost after the Bank of Canada lowered its economic growth forecast.

The loonie was up 0.06 of a cent to 97.47 cents (U.S.) after falling about six-tenths of a cent Wednesday after the central bank cut its 2013 economic growth forecast to 1.5 per cent from an earlier estimate of two per cent.

The commodity-sensitive currency has also been punished by tumbling prices for oil, copper and gold this past week.

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Oil and copper have given up gains amid data showing a slowing Chinese economy, while the International Monetary Fund cut its forecast for global growth to 3.3 per cent this year from its January forecast of 3.5 per cent.

Commodity prices turned around Thursday as copper, viewed as an economic bellwether, shed early losses to gain two cents to $3.20 a pound. Copper has fallen 13 per cent year to date, plumbing 18-month lows because of falling demand prospects.

Oil prices have also lost ground this week following the Chinese and IMF data. Prices fell a further $2 Wednesday even as a report by the U.S. Energy Information Administration showed U.S. crude inventories falling by 1.23 million barrels in the week ended April 12. Inventories. however, are still near their highest level since 1990.

The May crude contract on the Nymex advanced $1.05 Thursday to US$87.73 a barrel.

Gold prices were also higher, with the June contract up $9.80 to $1,392.50 an ounce.

A higher U.S. dollar and the prospect of troubled eurozone countries selling off part of their gold reserves to tackle debt problems have sent gold to their lowest levels in over two years, with prices falling $140 on Monday alone.

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