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The interest in rates

The Canadian dollar continued to lose ground after the Bank of Canada signalled that interest rate hikes are likely further off than previously thought.

The loonie declined 0.32 of a cent to 99.78 cents US on top of a drop of almost 2/3 of a cent Wednesday as the central bank kept its key rate at one per cent and lowered its economic estimates.

It has shaved three-tenths of a point off its projections for growth for both 2012 and 2013, to 1.9 per cent and 2.0 per cent respectively.

The change in the guidance likely means the Bank of Canada won't move to tighten borrowing costs until some time in 2014.

The loonie hasn't closed below parity with the U.S. currency since mid-November.

There was good news from the world's second-biggest economy as China's manufacturing crept higher in January to the fastest pace in two years. A preliminary version of HSBC's monthly purchasing managers' index rose for the fifth month in a row to 51.9 in January from 51.5 in December. Readings above 50 on the 100-point scale indicate an expansion.

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