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The Canadian dollar weakened against its U.S. counterpart on Friday, with the currency pulling back from an earlier 10-day high as the spread of the new coronavirus weighed on stocks and the price of oil.

Shares globally declined in a sign investors were focusing once more on the spread of the virus despite hopes for further stimulus measures to combat its economic impact.

Some economists say that Canada’s economy could he hit particularly hard because Canadian households are carrying record levels of debt and Canada is a major exporter of commodities, including oil.

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Oil has been pummeled since January by demand destruction related to the virus and a price war between major producer countries. On Friday, U.S. crude oil futures were down 3.5 per cent at $21.81 a barrel.

At 8:51 a.m. (1251 GMT), the Canadian dollar was trading 0.7 per cent lower at 1.4123 to the greenback, or 70.81 U.S. cents. The currency touched its strongest intraday level since March 17 at 1.3990.

Canada has tripled the amount of mortgage securities it was prepared to buy to $150-billion so that funding could expand for lenders dealing with tighter credit markets. It has also almost doubled the value of an aid package to C$52 billion to help people and businesses deal with losses from the outbreak.

Canadian government bond yields fell across the curve on Friday, with the 10-year down 10.7 basis points at 0.735 per cent.

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