USD/CAD Canadian Dollar Higher After Central Bank Holds Rate

The Bank of Canada kept rates unchanged but statement was not all dovish

The Canadian dollar is higher against the US dollar after the Bank of Canada (BoC) kept rates unchanged at 0.50 percent. The release of minutes from the Fed’s May meeting was full of surprises, but still felt short of the market expectations which are pricing in a rate hike in the upcoming June 13/14 Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting.

The BoC managed to balance its dovish assessment of the economy with the potential opportunity as there is still excess capacity. The housing market remains a concern as it is too early to tell if the latest moves by the provincial government in Ontario after following the lead of British Columbia and the problems at Home Capital Trust have had a real impact on prices. The central bank has put rate cuts off the table since earlier this year, but there are no real possibilities of a rate hike until 2018. Trade will remain a challenge as the US has begun the 90 day period before holding a renegotiation meeting with Canada and Mexico.

The Fed Minutes released today brought insights about the central bank’s next steps on rate policy and its balance sheet reduction plans. Fed members discussed that a rate hike would be appropriate soon. The market agrees, already pricing in a 83.1 percent probability of a rate hike in the upcoming June FOMC meeting, although through to its cautious nature the Fed did add that it would have to be dependant on strong economic data. Central bank officials are calling the slowdown in the first quarter as transitory and expect the US economy to recover. The Fed surprised with a lot of details on their plans to shrinks their balance sheet. A three month increasing cap seems to be the plan going forward until reaching normalization.

Oil prices had initially risen with the combination of the bigger than expected drawdown in US weekly inventories and the upcoming meeting between Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and other major producers in Vienna to discuss the extension to the production cut agreement put in place in January of this year. The agreement has stabilized prices but rising US production has kept crude at around current levels which is why an extension and a possible further decrease in supply might be needed.


usdcad Canadian dollar graph, May 24, 2017

The USD/CAD lost 0.436 percent in the last 24 hours. The currency pair is trading at 1.3437 after the decision from the Bank of Canada (BoC) to leave benchmark rates untouched at record low 0.50 percent. The price of oil also boosted the loonie against the US dollar with the bigger than expected drawdown of 4.4 million barrels. The minutes form the U.S. Federal Reserve meeting in May were also released today, but although they kept the June rate hike on the table did not sway the market who has already priced in that decision by the central bank.



The price of oil lost 0.227 percent on Wednesday. The West Texas Intermediate is trading at $50.97 after the US weekly inventories were even lower than expected ahead of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) meeting on Thursday. The producers appear to be ready to extend by 6 to 9 months their historic deal to cut 1.8 million barrels per day but deeper cuts are still not ruled out as the final decision is yet to reached according to reports from Vienna.

Market events to watch this week:

Thursday, May 25
4:30 am GBP Second Estimate GDP q/q
All Day ALL OPEC Meetings
8:30 am USD Unemployment Claims
Friday, May 26
8:30 am USD Core Durable Goods Orders m/m
8:30 am USD Prelim GDP q/q

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

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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, Alfonso Esparza 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 has been published by The MarketWatch, Reuters, the Wall Street Journal and The Globe and Mail, and he also appears regularly as a guest commentator on networks including Bloomberg and BNN. 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