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TORONTO: The Canadian dollar rose to a nearly one-week high against its US counterpart on Thursday as oil prices climbed and domestic factory data showed strengthening in the economy.

Canadian factory sales were up by 2.1pc in March from February on higher motor vehicle sales, as well as petroleum and coal products, Statistics Canada said. Analysts surveyed by Reuters had forecast a 1.1pc increase in the value of shipments.

"Today's reading suggests a likely healthy advance in March monthly GDP, and will support the street's view that growth will outperform the Bank of Canada's pessimistic view for Q1," said Royce Mendes, senior economist at CIBC Capital Markets in a note.

The central bank has projected the economy grew by 0.3pc in the first three months of the year after barely any growth in the fourth quarter. Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz and deputy governor Carolyn Wilkins will take media questions at 11:15 a.m. (1515 GMT), after the release of the central bank's review of the Canadian financial system.

Canada added 61,700 jobs in April, the second straight month of robust jobs gains, led by hiring in the education and health services and construction sectors, according to a report from ADP.

The price of oil, one of Canada's major exports, rose for a third day running as fears of supply disruption amid heightened tensions in the Middle East overshadowed swelling US crude inventories. US crude oil futures were up 1.8pc at $63.12 a barrel.

At 9:57 a.m. (1357 GMT), the Canadian dollar was trading 0.1pc higher at 1.3420 to the greenback, or 74.52 US cents.

The currency touched its strongest since May 10 at 1.3401.

Gains for the loonie came even a the US dollar rose to its highest levels in a week against a basket of currencies.

Investors focused on trade war tensions, while the euro was hurt by concerns about this weekend's European parliamentary elections.

Canadian government bond prices were lower across the yield curve in sympathy with US Treasuries after data showing stronger-than-expected US housing starts in April.

The two-year fell 4.5 Canadian cents to yield 1.606pc and the 10-year

was down 18 Canadian cents to yield 1.686pc.

Copyright Reuters, 2019