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Loonie ends higher as traders await rate announcement

Loonies sit on their American counterparts in this file photo.

Paul Chiasson/THE CANADIAN PRESS

The Canadian dollar closed higher Monday as traders focused on the release Wednesday of the Bank of Canada's interest rate announcement and its latest monetary policy report.

The loonie edged up 0.17 of a cent to end at 93.33 cents (U.S.).

The loonie had tumbled three-quarters of a cent on Friday in the wake of disappointing employment data that saw the loss of 9,500 jobs in June.

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The central bank is universally expected to leave its key rate at 1 per cent, where it has been for almost four years. That means traders will particularly focus on the bank's assessment of how the economy is performing amid rising inflation.

"We will also be looking for any comments about the recent strengthening of the Canadian dollar and the risks that it may pose for their assumption of strengthening exports," said Mark Chandler of RBC Dominion Securities.

The currency has lately been hovering around the 94-cent level. It had been trading around 90 cents for much of the year but found buoyancy from rising oil prices, stronger-than-expected housing data and higher inflation.

Investors will also focus on monetary policy testimony from U.S. Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen on Tuesday and Wednesday.

"While much of the impact of the semi-annual address has waned with the [Fed] now providing quarterly forecast updates, we would expect some questions on the timing of future rate increases," Chandler said.

"Also on Wednesday, the [Fed's latest regional economic survey] will be released and should, on the basis of recent job figures, be a relatively upbeat compendium of economic conditions."

Commodities were mixed as the price of oil edged higher after its biggest one-day drop since April amid growing expectations of more supplies from Libya. August crude added 8 cents to $100.91 a barrel.

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Metals declined with September copper down 2 cents to $3.25 a pound while August gold bullion dropped $30.70 to $1,306.70 an ounce.

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