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Loonie advances ahead of employment data, traders look to dismal eurozone growth

TORONTO - The Canadian dollar closed higher Thursday as markets awaited the arrival of revised jobs data for July.

The loonie was up 0.12 of a cent to 91.72 cents US, a day before Statistics Canada releases the data. The agency said earlier this week that there was an error in the jobs data originally released last Friday.

Economists expect the new data will show about 20,000 jobs were created last month. Last Friday, Statistics Canada reported that only 200 jobs were created in July.

The agency will also release the June reading on manufacturing shipments on Friday.

Meanwhile, there was grim news from the eurozone as Germany’s economy, the region’s biggest, shrank by a quarterly rate of 0.2 per cent, held back by weaker investment by business and by fears over the crisis in Ukraine.

France, the region’s second-largest economy, showed zero growth for the second straight quarter. Third-ranked Italy shrank.

Ukraine fears have only grown since the end of the quarter on June 30, particularly after a Malaysian airliner was shot down in mid-July by a missile from territory held by pro-Russian separatists, according to the U.S. and Ukraine.

Meanwhile, a large Russian aid convoy resumed its journey toward Ukraine on Thursday, taking a road leading directly toward a border crossing controlled by pro-Russian rebels.

Moscow has insisted it co-ordinated the dispatch of the goods with the International Red Cross, but the Red Cross was unable to confirm where the convoy was headed.

On Wednesday, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko accused Moscow of possibly planning a “direct invasion of Ukrainian territory under the guise of delivering humanitarian aid.”

On the commodity markets, September crude in New York tumbled $2.01 to US$95.58 a barrel, reflecting Wednesday's data showing a surprise hike in U.S. inventories last week and the weak European growth data.

September copper was two cents lower at US$3.09 a pound, while December gold was $1.20 higher at US$1,315.70 an ounce.

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