The Canadian dollar soared to its strongest level against its U.S. rival Thursday after official data showed retail sales rebounded sharply in January after an unexpected decline in December. The loonie rose to a session high of 77.38 cents, its strongest level since late October, compared with 77.03 cents late Thursday. Retail sales rose at a monthly rate of 2.1%, surpassing a FactSet consensus estimate for 0.7% growth. But analysts said the currency's gains were constrained somewhat by a weaker-than-expected report on consumer-price inflation. The loonie has risen 4.5% against the dollar so far this month, supported by rising oil prices and the Bank of Canada's decision to leave interest rates on hold. (
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