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TORONTO: The Canadian dollar strengthened against its US counterpart on Thursday as oil prices rose and investors awaited a speech by a senior Bank of Canada official that could offer clues on the pace of interest rate hikes.

Paul Beaudry, a deputy governor of the Bank of Canada, will give an economic update following the central bank’s rate decision on Wednesday. The BoC opened the door to a more aggressive pace of tightening, saying it was prepared to act “more forcefully” if needed to tame inflation, even as it went ahead with a historic second consecutive half-percentage-point rate increase.

Beaudry’s prepared remarks are due for release at 10:45 ET (1445 GMT).

The Canadian dollar was trading 0.2% higher at 1.2630 to the greenback, or 79.18 US cents, after trading in a range of 1.2626 to 1.2686. On Wednesday, the currency touched its strongest level in nearly six weeks at 1.2606.

It is expected to gain further ground over the coming year as the BoC likely continues to raise interest rates aggressively and high commodity prices bolster Canada’s economic outlook, a Reuters poll showed.

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