USD/CAD has moved higher throughout the week and this trend continues in the Thursday session. Early in the North American session, the pair is trading at 1.3350. On the release front, Canadian GDP edged lower to 0.3%, matching the estimate. US unemployment claims sparkled, falling to 223 thousand, the fewest since March 1973. On Friday, the US releases ISM Non-Manufacturing PMI, and the markets will be listening closely as Janet Yellen and three other FOMC members deliver speeches.
There were no surprises from the Bank of Canada, which held rates at 0.50%, where they have been pegged since July 2015. However, the rate statement expressed concern, stating that the economy faces “significant uncertainties”, including a lack of clarity over Donald Trump’s economic agenda. Trump has called for the NAFTA trade agreement to be scrapped, although he has since backtracked and said that he only wanted to “tweak” the provisions that affect Canada-US trade. Still, Trump’s protectionist leanings could hurt the Canadian economy, which sends 80% of its exports to its southern border. Even if NAFTA is left alone, the US could slap import duties on Canadian products, which would have negative ramifications for the Canadian economy. Meanwhile, the Canadian dollar is struggling, dropping 1.9% this week. The currency is close to an 8-week low, and USD/CAD could push past the 1.34 level this week.
There was plenty of anticipation in the air ahead of President Trump’s speech to Congress. In the end, however, the speech was short on specifics and the markets didn’t show much reaction. Trump promised “massive” tax relief for the middle class as well as corporate tax cuts. However, he failed to provide details or even timelines on tax reform or infrastructure spending, two themes which he has discussed since the election campaign. Trump stated that he will ask Congress to approve legislation for $1 trillion in infrastructure spending, “financed through both public and private capital”. Analysts noted that although Trump touched on the protectionist theme, such as the trade imbalance with China, his tone was less belligerent than we’ve seen in the past.
When will the Fed press the rate trigger? That should occur in the first half of the year, but the key question is whether the Fed makes a move at the next policy meeting on March 15. On Tuesday, FOMC members William Dudley and John Williams both hinted at an imminent hike by the Fed, which has raised the odds of a March hike at 66%, according to Reuters. Dudley said the case for a hike is compelling, while Williams noted that a rate increase will be up for “serious consideration” at the March policy meeting. The markets will be listening closely to speeches from other FOMC members this week, culminating in speeches from Janet Yellen and Fed Governor Stanley Fischer on Friday.
Thursday (March 2)
- 8:30 Canadian GDP. Estimate 0.3%. Actual 0.3%
- 8:30 US Unemployment Claims. Estimate 243K. Actual 223K
- 10:30 US Natural Gas Storage. Estimate -5B
- 13:00 BoC Deputy Governor Timothy Lane Speech
Upcoming Key Events
Friday (March 3)
- 10:00 ISM Non-Manufacturing PMI. Estimate 56.5
- 13:00 Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen Speech
*All release times are GMT
*Key events are in bold
USD/CAD for Thursday, March 2, 2017
USD/CAD March 2 at 8:40 EST
Open: 1.3353 High: 1.3385 Low: 1.3334 Close: 1.3352
- USD/CAD was flat in the Asian session. In European trade, the pair edged up but retracted. USD/CAD is choppy early in the North American session
- 1.3253 is providing support
- 1.3371 was tested earlier in resistance and remains a weak line
Further levels in both directions:
- Below: 1.3253, 1.3120, 1.3003 and 1.2922
- Above: 1.3371, 1.3461 and 1.3551
- Current range: 1.3253 to 1.3371
OANDA’s Open Positions Ratio
USD/CAD ratio is showing slight movement towards long positions. Currently, long positions have a strong majority (67%), indicative of trader bias towards USD/CAD continuing to move higher.
This article is for general information purposes only. It is not investment advice or a solution to buy or sell securities. Opinions are the authors; not necessarily that of OANDA Corporation or any of its affiliates, subsidiaries, officers or directors. Leveraged trading is high risk and not suitable for all. You could lose all of your deposited funds.