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Loonie closes slightly higher on positive business outlook survey

Canadian dollar.

Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press

The Canadian dollar rose slightly Monday with the help of a Bank of Canada survey that offered positive sentiments for the domestic economy.

The loonie moved up 0.1 of a cent to close at 91.17 cents (U.S.).

Earlier in the day, the central bank's quarterly survey of 100 companies showed that hiring intentions last month were among the most positive in almost two years amid higher sales and better prospects, with more firms reporting growth in sales in the past 12 months.

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"The outlook for investment and employment firmed slightly, with both measures holding well above long-term averages," BMO Nesbitt Burns senior economist Benjamin Reitzes said in a note.

"The softer Canadian dollar's impact on inflation should also be encouraging for the BoC, which has been concerned about persistently underperforming inflation."

The currency is holding at values it hasn't touched since Feb. 18 when it closed at 91.32.

Although the loonie has fallen from its lofty heights near parity last May, it has firmed its position at about the 90-cent level on the back of positive economic data. Last week, Canadian jobs figures for March impressed as the unemployment rate pulled back one-tenth of a percentage point to 6.9 per cent.

Several other reports on economies around the world later this week will bring to light how the global outlook is shaping up.

On Tuesday, a policy statement from the Bank of Japan could provide direction on whether the central bank will inject further stimulus, while on Wednesday the U.S. Federal Reserve releases minutes from its March meeting.

In commodities, the May crude contract dropped 70 cents to settle at $100.44 a barrel.

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June gold bullion was down $5.20 at $1,298.30 an ounce, while May copper climbed 1.7 cents to $3.04 a pound.

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