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Loonie continues advance as U.S. retail sales miss

Canadian dollars.

Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press

The Canadian dollar continued to advance from multi-year lows late Thursday morning despite mixed commodity prices and a reading on American retail sales that fell short of expectations.

The loonie climbed 0.17 of a cent to 91.1 cents (U.S.).

U.S. retail sales for January were down by 0.4 per cent against the 0.3 per cent decline that economists had expected.

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Other data showed a slight rise in jobless insurance claims. Applications, which are viewed as a proxy for layoffs, rose 8,000 last week to 339,000.

Meanwhile, a major Canadian report will be released at the end of this week. Statistics Canada releases its reading on manufacturing shipments for December on Friday and economists expect that shipments dipped 0.5 per cent month over month following a one per cent gain in November.

Commodity prices were mixed, as March crude on the New York Mercantile Exchange dipped two cents to $100.35 a barrel.

April bullion was $5.10 higher to $1,300.10 an ounce while March copper was unchanged at $3.25 a pound.

The loonie has enjoyed a solid bounce this month after hitting 4-1/2 year lows of about 89.5 cents.

There are several reasons for the turnaround, including growing optimism that the Keystone XL pipeline to carry oil sands crude from Alberta to refineries on the Texas Gulf Coast will be built.

Also, economists have been pricing in a lower likelihood of an interest rate cut, the latest job creation data was positive and the federal government's budget on Tuesday was well received.

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