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The Canadian dollar was little changed against its U.S. counterpart on Wednesday, holding near its strongest level in nearly three weeks as global equity markets reached record highs and ahead of a speech by a Bank of Canada policymaker.

World share markets rose for the eighth day in a row, while market sentiment was boosted by the prospect of U.S. fiscal stimulus and vaccine rollouts, before a speech by Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell.

Canada is a major producer of commodities, including oil, so the loonie tends to be sensitive to the outlook for the global economy.

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Oil extended its rally for a ninth day on Wednesday, its longest winning streak in two years, supported by producer supply cuts and hopes that vaccine rollouts will drive a recovery in demand.

U.S. crude prices were up 0.2 per cent at $58.48 a barrel, while the loonie was trading nearly unchanged at 1.2687 to the greenback, or 78.82 U.S. cents, having touched its strongest intraday level since Jan. 22 at 1.2674.

Bank of Canada Deputy Governor Timothy Lane is due to give a virtual speech to a Quebec-based digital intelligence organization at 11:30 a.m. ET.

Investors will pay attention to any comments on the economic outlook after the central bank said in January that the pace of its bond purchases will be adjusted as it gains confidence in the strength of the recovery.

Canadian government bond yields were lower across the curve in sympathy with U.S. Treasuries after data showing tame U.S. inflation. The 10-year eased half a basis point to 0.993 per cent, pulling back from its highest intraday level since March last year at 1.028 per cent.

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