By Fergal Smith
TORONTO (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar strengthened against its U.S. counterpart on Friday, clawing back some of this week's decline, as domestic jobs data supported expectations for further reduction of the Bank of Canada's asset purchase program.
Canada added 231,000 jobs in June, more than expected, bringing employment within 1.8% of pre-pandemic levels, as public health restrictions were eased in several regions of the country, Statistics Canada data showed.
"It looks encouraging," said Amo Sahota, director at Klarity FX in San Francisco. "I think it's going to confirm what's widely anticipated next week. The Bank of Canada is going to adjust their tapering and reduce the amount of asset purchases."
With Canadian vaccinations progressing at a rapid pace and provinces easing economic restrictions, the BoC is expected to cut bond purchases by C$1 billion to C$2 billion per week next Wednesday, a Reuters poll showed.
Still, the growing spread of the Delta coronavirus variant could cap the central bank's optimism on the economic outlook, Sahota said.
The Canadian dollar was trading 0.6% higher at 1.2455 to the greenback, or 80.29 U.S. cents. On Thursday, the currency hit a 2-1/2 month low at 1.2590, while it was down 1.1% for the week.
The loonie's gain on Friday came as Wall Street rebounded, recouping all its loses triggered by growth worries earlier in the week.
The price of oil, one of Canada's major exports, also moved higher, as data showing a draw in U.S. inventories offset uncertainty over global supplies after an OPEC+ impasse. U.S. crude settled 2.2% higher at $74.56 a barrel.
Canadian bond yields rose across much of a steeper curve, tracking the move in U.S. Treasuries. The 10-year was up 6 basis points at 1.325%, after touching on Thursday its lowest level in over four months at 1.239%.
(Reporting by Fergal Smith; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Andrea Ricci)