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The commodity-linked Canadian dollar advanced to its strongest level in nearly six months against the greenback on Thursday as data from the U.S. Labor Department supported optimism on global economic recovery.

The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits dropped below 1 million last week for the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, signaling a recovery in the job market was on track.

Canada sends about 75 per cent of its exports to the United States, including oil. U.S. crude oil futures were down 0.1 per cent at $42.62 a barrel as the International Energy Agency lowered its 2020 oil demand forecast following unprecedented travel restrictions.

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The Canadian dollar was trading 0.3 per cent higher at 1.3208 to the greenback, or 75.71 U.S. cents. The currency touched its strongest intraday level since Feb. 21 at 1.3206.

Canada’s manufacturing sales report for June is due on Friday. Economists expect a 16.4 per cent increase in sales, which would add to evidence of domestic economic recovery.

Canadian government bond yields were higher across the curve, with the 10-year rising 1.1 basis points to notch its highest level since June 11 at 0.623 per cent.

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