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The Canadian dollar strengthened to a five-week high against its U.S. counterpart on Friday as domestic data showing a bigger-than-expected jobs gain in August reduced investor expectations for a Bank of Canada interest rate cut next month.

Canada’s economy added 81,100 jobs in August, largely driven by increases in part-time work, Statistics Canada data showed. That was much more than the 15,000 increase that analysts had expected.

“If the Bank of Canada was on the fence about cutting rates in October, today’s jobs numbers might be one further push towards standing pat,” Avery Shenfeld, chief economist at CIBC Capital Markets, said in a note.

Chances of a cut at the Bank of Canada’s next interest rate decision on Oct. 30 fell to 22 per cent from 28 per cent before the data, the overnight index swaps market indicated.

They were nearly 70 per cent before Wednesday’s interest decision, which showed no indication that the central bank was planning to cut rates despite easing this year by many of its global peers, including the U.S. Federal Reserve.

Ivey Purchasing Managers Index data was also upbeat, showing that the pace of economic activity in Canada picked up in August as inventories climbed.

At 3:05 p.m. (1905 GMT), the Canadian dollar was trading 0.4 per cent higher at 1.3172 to the greenback, or 75.92 U.S. cents.

The currency touched its strongest level since July 31 at 1.3159. For the week, it was up 1.0 per cent, its first advance since the first half of July.

Gains for the loonie came as the U.S. dollar was pressured by data showing U.S. employers added fewer workers than expected in August and as Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell promised the central bank will continue to act “as appropriate” to sustain an economic expansion.

Powell’s comments helped boost the price of oil, one of Canada’s major exports. U.S. crude oil futures settled 0.4 per cent higher at $56.52 a barrel.

Canadian government bond prices were lower across a flatter yield curve, with the two-year down 7 Canadian cents to yield 1.492 per cent and the 10-year falling 15 Canadian cents to yield 1.281 per cent.

The gap between Canada’s two-year yield and its U.S. equivalent narrowed 4.8 basis points to a spread of -4.0 basis points, its narrowest gap since October 2017.

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