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The Canadian dollar fell from parity after a report showed fewer jobs were created last month than economists had anticipated.

The currency traded at 99.48 cents (U.S.) after hovering around parity before the report was released. The currency hit par last week for the first time in 20 months.

"Despite the below-consensus print, it is yet another indication of the recent positive momentum in the Canadian economy," said Millan Mulraine, senior Canada macro strategist at TD Securities.

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Employers created 17,900 jobs last month, and the country's jobless rate stayed at 8.2 per cent in March, Statistics Canada said Friday. Economists polled by Bloomberg had expected 26,000 new jobs would be added with the unemployment rate falling to 8.1 per cent.

Mr. Mulraine still believes the Bank of Canada will begin raising its key lending rate in July, with a 25-basis-point hike, though "there are risks of an earlier move."

The central bank makes its next rate announcement on April 20.

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About the Author

Tavia Grant has worked at The Globe and Mail since early 2005, covering topics from employment and currency markets to trade, microfinance and Latin American economies. She previously worked for Bloomberg News in Toronto and Zurich, writing on mining, stocks, currencies and secret Swiss bank accounts. More

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