The Loonie briefly touched 12 year lows against the USD as the price of energy kept falling and the volatility of the Chinese stock market caused waves around the world. The USD/CAD traded at 1.4170 but started to depreciate as the price of oil recovered and Bank of Canada Governor took the stage in Ottawa.
Governor Stephen Poloz said that the impact of the currency will be felt beyond the resource sector. Given how heavily Canada relies on the commodities industry its not surprise that the pain was felt there first, but the BOC chief points to it spreading as the loss of income hits the rest of the economy.
The weak loonie is driving inflation upwards as the prices of imports rise. Paradoxically the low price of oil is keeping inflation under control in the rest or the world, but for an energy producer such as Canada it can have the opposite effect. Food is also expected to rise as it is priced in other currencies and as the CAD losses value will result in higher prices boosting inflation.
BOC Governor Poloz made clear that the central bank will be vigilant and has at its disposal conventional and unconventional tools to keep inflation under control. Exports have produced positive results as the trade balance deficit shrunk earlier this week validating Poloz’s hopes the weaker currency would boost revenues for Canadian companies that do business abroad.
The problem lies in the fact that the gains in exports are nowhere near offsetting the losses from the energy sector. Manufacturing was eradicated as the CAD was near parity following the 2008 crisis as the Canadian economy had the backing of a strong oil price. With that gone, and with middle east turmoil that looks to be resolve with an oil production war the crude market leave Canada few options.
The recovery of the U.S. economy is a positive for the Canadian economy as its biggest trading partner and is expected the price advantage will make Canadian goods more attractive. On the central bank front, the cautious approach form the U.S. Federal Reserve might force the Bank of Canada to act sooner rather than later and cut the benchmark interest rate from 0.50 to a new record low. Low inflation is a concern for the Fed and can pare back its estimates of 4 rate hikes in 2016 to close to the market expectation of 2.
Employment data will be released for both Canada and the U.S. on Friday, January 8 at 8:30 am EST. The eyes of the market will be focused on the American release as proof of the resilience of the U.S. economy. The forecasts call for a gain of 200,000 jobs in the U.S. There is room to underperform, but it will still close a very strong year of American employment. The Canadian data has been harder to predict and has shown wild swings in 2015. The forecast calls for a gain of 10,000 after the disappointing jobs report from November that showed a 35,000 jobs loss.
CAD events to watch this week:
Friday, January 8
8:30am USD Non-Farm Employment Change
8:30am USD Unemployment Rate
8:30am CAD Employment Change
8:30pm CNY CPI y/y