USD/CAD Canadian Dollar Flat as Improving Fundamentals Cancelled by Trade Anxiety

The Canadian dollar is flat against the US dollar on Wednesday. The loonie is caught between improving economic fundamentals, rising oil prices and the US-China trade talk anxiety. Canadian housing jumped 22.6 percent in April easing some concerns about the economy. Oil prices rebounded after the large drawdown in US crude inventories. Housing data was supportive of the Bank of Canada’s view of the transitory headwinds which pushed the CAD higher but not enough to not get brought back down on trade war developments.

usdcad Canadian dollar graph, May 8, 2019

Trade anxiety will continue this week as Chinese negotiators reach Washington with a Friday deadline on higher tariffs looming over the meeting. If there is no significant progress the US would raise tariffs to 25 percent on $200 billon worth of imported goods. China could hit the reset button and go back to the original terms of the agreement but its unclear if they could do it quick enough to avoid Friday’s deadline.

Next up for Canada will be the trade balance data on Thursday and looking ahead at the April employment report, but all eyes will be on the news out of Washington regarding trade with China.

Oil Higher on Surprise Drawdown of US Inventories

Oil prices rose on Wednesday after a surprise large drawdown in US crude inventories. The 4 million barrel drop took the market by surprise when the forecast called for a 1.1 million barrel buildup. Oil prices had been under pressure from rising US-China trade concerns and consistency higher inventories in the US. 

West Texas Intermediate graph

The shock drop in oil inventories boosted prices despite ongoing anxiety about a possible trade war. Chinese negotiators will be in Washington to start another round of negotiations after the US is ready to increase tariffs on Friday.

US sanctions against Iran and Venezuela along with the OPEC+ production cut agreement were keeping prices stable, but energy demand forecasts were impacted by a possible escalation of tariffs from the two largest economies.

Brent crude graph

Supply continues to outweigh demand, but the efforts from the OPEC+ and geopolitical disruptions have kept prices rising despite pressure from the White House for producers to bring more supply online which would cause a drop in prices.

Supply/Demand fundamentals are driving prices with the delicate balance between the two now pointing to lower supply with investors keeping an eye on the US-China trade front. A successful last-minute agreement between the two nations, similar to the USMCA quick turn around, could spark higher demand for crude boosting prices as OPEC+ is still limiting output.

Saudi Arabia and Russia are the key players for the OPEC+, while the Kingdom has pledged its support of a production curb, Russia has not signalled such a strong commitment. In June the major producers and the OPEC will meet to discuss a possible extension which could include no terms, or not reach an agreement after a declaring it mission accomplished after achieving price stability.

Gold Loses its Lustre as Equities Rebound

Gold lost 0.35 percent as stock markets were mixed ahead of the trade meeting between China and the US. The Japanese Yen has taken the crown as the safe haven of record ahead of the talks in Washington and the yellow metal is softer as risk appetite is slowly being dialled in.

US President Trump tweets sparked some optimism after mentioning Vice Premier Liu He is headed to Washington to make a deal. The possibility of a quick deal is not off the table ahead of Friday’s arbitrary tariff deadlines. Even signs of progress on the trade talks could push back the tariff escalation deadline which would be negative for the yellow metal as its appeal as a safe haven would be further eroded.

Equities Rebound but All Eyes on US-China Trade Talks

The Healthcare sector rebounded despite ongoing tensions between the US and China ahead of their meeting on Thursday. Trade talks took an unexpected turn with China allegedly backtracking their earlier commitment. The US has gone on a full offensive mode and put a 25% tariff applicable right after the trade talks finish with the aim of forcing China into a concession.

The market had already priced in a successful agreement, although details were scarce so the fact that the deal could be off as per the US response put pressure on equities. Now as the meeting gets closer cooler heads are prevailing and more optimistic scenarios are being presented where a delay in the deadline and even a last-minute agreement are not unthinkable.

Pound Falls as Political Parties Not Close on Brexit

The British pound lost 0.43 percent on Wednesday as Conservatives and Labour continue to discuss Brexit option, with no clear sign of progress. Rumours are circling that the talks between the two parties are near collapse, but no group wants to be seen as holding up the talks. The Brexit extension was granted until October, but the possibility of not reaching consensus on the already presented proposal is very real and will continue to put the pound under pressure.

The GBP is hovering above the 1.30 price level, but will be sensitive to trade talks and could fall below it if risk aversion grips investors after a negative outcome to the US-China summit.

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.

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