The Canadian dollar continues to drop against its US counterpart. On Thursday, USD/CAD has edged higher as it trades at 1.3450. On the release front, there are a host of key indicators out of the US and Canada. In the US, the highlight of the day is Final GDP. We’ll also get a look at Core Durable Goods Orders and unemployment claims. Canada will release CPI and retail sales reports. The action continues on Friday, as Canada releases GDP while the US publishes New Home Sales and UoM Consumer Sentiment.
The US economy continues to expand in impressive fashion, as underscored by strong GDP forecasts for the third quarter. Preliminary GDP came in at 3.2%, beating the forecast of 3.0%. Final GDP is expected to be even stronger, with an estimate of 3.3%. If the indicator matches or beats this rosy prediction, the US dollar could respond with gains. As for the Canadian dollar, it posted strong gains in early December, piggybacking on surging oil prices. However, the currency reversed directions after the Federal Reserve raised rate last week, wiping out those recent gains. USD/CAD is currently at 4-week highs, and the rally could continue if this week’s key Canadian indicators fail to meet expectations.
When the Federal Reserve raised interest rates in December 2015, the Fed confidently predicted a series of rate hikes in 2016 in order to keep a hot US economy in check. However, the Fed remained on the sidelines throughout 2016 and refrained from any rate hikes until last week. There were several false starts along the way, as expectations that the Fed would raise rates earlier in 2016 failed to materialize. This led to sharp criticism of Janet Yellen for failing to provide a clear monetary policy. Yellen seems to have been keenly aware of this, as the Fed did everything short of buying advertisements in daily newspapers to get out the message that it planned to raise rates in December. Indeed, a rate hike was priced in as high as 100% by some analysts. Yellen should certainly be commended for a clear message to the markets.
Now that the Fed has finally pressed the rate trigger, what’s next for Janet Yellen & Co.? In September, Fed officials said they expected two rate hikes in 2017, but the Fed is now projecting three or even four hikes next year. However, projections need to be adjusted to economic conditions, and the markets will understandably be somewhat skeptical about Fed rate forecasts. As well, the wild card of Donald Trump could also play a critical role in monetary policy. Trump’s economic platform remains sketchy, apart from declarations that he will increase government spending and cut taxes. Still, there is growing talk about ‘Trumpflation’, with the markets predicting that Trump’s policies will increase inflation levels, which have been persistently weak. If inflation levels do heat up, there will be pressure on the Fed to step in and raise interest rates.
Thursday (December 22)
- 8:30 Canadian CPI. Estimate -0.1%
- 8:30 Canadian Core Retail Sales. Estimate 0.7%
- 8:30 Canadian Retail Sales. Estimate 0.2%
- 8:30 US Core Durable Goods Orders. Estimate 0.2%
- 8:30 US Final GDP. Estimate 3.3%
- 8:30 US Unemployment Claims. Estimate 255K
- 8:30 US Durable Goods Orders. Estimate -4.9%
- 8:30 US Final GDP Price Index. Estimate 1.4%
- Tentative – Canadian Core CPI. Estimate -0.1%
- 10:00 US HPI. Estimate 0.4%
- 9:00 US Core PCE Price Index. Estimate 0.1%
- 10:00 US Personal Spending. Estimate 0.4%
- 10:00 US CB Leading Index. Estimate 0.2%
- 10:00 US Personal Income. Estimate 0.3%
- 10:30 US Natural Gas Storage. Estimate -201B
Friday (December 23)
- 8:30 Canadian GDP. Estimate 0.1%
- 10:00 US New Home Sales. Estimate 575K
- 10:00 US Revised UoM Consumer Sentiment. Estimate 98.2
*All release times are EST
*Key events are in bold
USD/CAD for Thursday, December 22, 2016
USD/CAD December 22 at 6:50 EST
Open: 1.3432 High: 1.3464 Low: 1.3416 Close: 1.3462
- USD/CAD was flat in the Asian session and has posted slight gains in European trade
- 1.3457 has switched to a support role and remains fluid.
- 1.3589 is the next resistance line
Further levels in both directions:
- Below: 1.3457, 1.3371, 1.3253 and 1.3120
- Above: 1.3589, 1.3759 and 1.3889
- Current range: 1.3457 to 1.3589
OANDA’s Open Positions Ratio
USD/CAD ratio is showing little movement in the Thursday session. Currently, short positions have a slim majority (52%), indicative of a very slight trader bias towards USD/CAD continuing to move upwards.