USD/CAD Loonie Lower on Thin UK/US Holiday Liquidity

The loonie started the week lower as the Memorial Day holiday will severely limit liquidity. The week promises to be full of trading activity for all major pairs, but for now the is the calm before the storm. The week will feature the European Central Bank (ECB) rate statement and press conference, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) meeting in Vienna with friction between Saudi and Iran undermining the justification for the organization to exist. Employment data in the U.S. could further validate the Fed’s comments of a June interest rate hike if the pace of jobs recovery continues.

The top Canadian releases will be the monthly GDP data on Tuesday, May 31 at 8:30 am EDT and the trade balance to be published on Friday, June 3 at 8:30 am EDT. GDP data is expected to contract after the Canadian economy appears to be slowing down but after the impressive growth at the beginning of the year will yield a strong first quarter, but concerns are rising for the second quarter as more recent manufacturing and export data has been softer. Case in point the trade balance to be released on Friday is expected to bring a 2.5 billion deficit although the eyes of the market will be focused on the jobs report out of the United States.

The European Central Bank (ECB) is not expected to change monetary policy when it releases its statement on Thursday, June 2 at 7:45 am EDT. The market will be following ECB President Mario Draghi speech for details about the implementation of corporate bond purchases that will kick off in June but the only surprise on the agenda could be the ECB’s forecasts. March’s forecasts were put together using the horrible beginning of the year data, which has improved and before the quantitative easing additional stimulus announced in the same time the forecasts were published. The inflation forecast could rise to 1.6 percent next year, putting less pressure on the ECB to ease monetary policy.



The USD/CAD has appreciated 0.178 percent in the last 24 hours. The U.S. and UK holidays have kept trading volumes low as the market awaits major economic releases this week. The main supporter of the loonie has been energy prices, as the currency is used as a proxy with high correlation to the price of crude. The true test for the CAD will come as employment data in the U.S. starts coming in and with it a change to the probability of a Fed June interest rate hike.



West Texas and Brent Crude had a quiet session with 0.188 and 0.457 percent respectively. The price of oil sits near a 8 month high after disruptions to the supply of crude have given the extra push above the $50 price level. Canadian wildfires, sabotage in Nigeria and the French oil sector strike have reduced the amount of oversupply. Yet those disruptions are temporary and producers keep pumping at record high levels. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) will meet in Vienna in a time when even the existence of the group is heavily questioned and some of its biggest critics are the members themselves.

CAD traders have an eventful week ahead of them. The minutes from the April Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting published in May sparked a USD rally fed by the expectation of a rate hike by the Fed in June. The potential rate hike would be the first after the central bank raised rates in December, only to take a more patient approach given the global slowdown at the beginning of the year. The April FOMC statement brought few clues about where Fed members were in regards to monetary policy changes, and it wasn’t until the release of the minutes from a meeting that had no press conference that details emerged about a higher possibility of a rate change in June if the American economy showed signs of improvement.

CAD events to watch this week:

Tuesday, May 31
8:30am CAD GDP m/m
10:00am USD CB Consumer Confidence
9:00pm CNY Manufacturing PMI
9:30pm AUD GDP q/q
9:45pm CNY Caixin Manufacturing PMI
Wednesday, Jun 1
10:00am USD ISM Manufacturing PMI

Thursday, Jun 2
All Day ALL OPEC Meetings
7:45am EUR Minimum Bid Rate
8:15am USD ADP Non-Farm Employment Change
9:30pm EUR ECB Press Conference
9:30pm USD Unemployment Claims
11:00am USD Crude Oil Inventories
Friday, Jun 3
8:30am CAD Trade Balance
8:30am USD Average Hourly Earnings m/m
8:30am USD Non-Farm Employment Change
8:30am USD Unemployment Rate
10:00am USD ISM Non-Manufacturing PMI

*All times EDT
For a complete list of scheduled events in the forex market visit the MarketPulse Economic Calendar

Alfonso Esparza

Alfonso Esparza

Senior Currency Analyst at Market Pulse
Alfonso Esparza specializes in macro forex strategies for North American and major currency pairs. Upon joining OANDA in 2007, he established the MarketPulseFX blog and he has since written extensively about central banks and global economic and political trends. Alfonso has also worked as a professional currency trader focused on North America and emerging markets. He holds a finance degree from the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education (ITESM) and an MBA with a specialization on financial engineering and marketing from the University of Toronto.
Alfonso Esparza