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· 02/05/2021 02:53

07:51 AM EST, 02/05/2021 (MT Newswires) -- Bank of Montreal (BMO) said the Canadian employment was expected to decline in January at a slower rate, down 10,000, after 52,700 net layoffs in December.

The decline reflected extended restrictions in the province of Ontario and should hold the unemployment rate at 8.8%, noted the bank. The Bloomberg consensus was weaker with a 40,000 decline and 8.9% rate.

Canada was set to release the January Labour Force Survey (LFS) at 8:30 a.m. ET on Friday.

Canada's merchandise trade shortfall should narrow slightly on firmer resource prices to a still-large $3.2 billion, added BMO. The December merchandise trade was scheduled to be published also at 8:30 a.m. ET on Friday.

Toronto's existing home sales data for January could be released on Friday and they were expected to show continued hot demand limited only by a shortage of listings, keeping prices rising at a near 11% annual pace, according to the bank