The Canadian dollar rose on Friday and on a weekly basis gained 0.40 percent versus the dollar. The loonie is trading at 1.3026 despite the Bank of Canada (BoC) holding the Canadian benchmark untouched and injecting a maple dose of dovish rhetoric into the market. In a battle of dovish central banks, the Fed took the lead by already signalling an upcoming rate cut since its last meeting in June. The testimonies of Fed Chair Powell and other high-profile members, as well as the publication of the minutes from said FOMC June meeting has the market fully pricing in the Fed lowering the interest rate at the end of the month.
Oil prices rose on supply disruptions and a weaker dollar, making the case for a stronger Canadian currency. Monetary policy divergence is keeping the CAD higher and will continue to be a factor as the Fed is expected to cut more than once, while the BoC could wrap up 2019 without a single rate move. For that scenario to happen there has to be a resolution to trade disputes and their negative effect on global growth.
Dollar on Back Foot as Fed Dovish Rhetoric Continues
The US dollar is lower across the board against major pairs. The greenback is on its way to three consecutive losing trading sessions after Fed members went full dove in their comments this week. Fed Chair Jerome Powell was the biggest factor on the dollar’s decline by testifying twice this week in Washington about monetary policy. Powell kept up the dovish rhetoric and has the market fully pricing in a rate cut at the end of the month. The timing seems no longer in question, but the size of the cut is still open to speculation.
US economic indicators remain mixed and inflation although subdued is holding its ground, putting question marks around a 50-basis points rate cut. St. Louis Fed Chief Bullard was the lone supporter of a rate cut in June and even he seems to think 50 basis point would be too much at this point in time. US retail sales data to be published on Tuesday, July 16 at 8:30 am EDT is another opportunity to validate an easing move by the Fed if the pessimistic forecasts are met or potentially missed. The flip side could be a surprise rebound of retail sales, putting even more doubt around the number of rate cuts and the depth of the monetary policy easing.
EUR/USD Fed Rate Cut Puts Downward Pressure on Dollar
The euro gained 0.41 percent versus the dollar in the past five trading sessions. The single currency is trading at 1.1271 after rhetoric from the U.S. Federal Reserve continues to signal a rate cut in July. Major central banks have all gone over the dovish side, but the fact the Fed managed to end its easing cycle and started a tightening one, means it can be more active.
The Fed is forecasted to reduce rates by 75 basis points this year, something the European Central Bank (ECB) cannot match as the European interest rate is zero, leaving only negative rates and quantitative easing as realistic options this year. That rate cushion the Fed can cut into means the dollar could fall further than the euro if the Fed once again takes point on slashing rates.
US stocks are no strangers to lower rates and continue to rack up to record territory after the Fed is near a full 180 degree turn on monetary policy. The US central bank hiked rates 4 times in 2018, but market conditions and a mixed economic picture with growing trading headwinds has forced the hand of the Fed into reducing the benchmark rate.
OIL – Crude Rises on Soft Dollar and Weather Disruptions
Oil prices rose slightly on Friday but had solid gains on a weekly basis. West Texas Intermediate gained 4.75 percent and Brent 4 percent on the back of Middle East tension, Gulf of Mexico weather disruptions and dollar softness after a rather dovish week for the Fed.
US inventories recorded a larger than expected drawdown of 9.5 million barrels boosting prices higher in the short term, even as there are serious concerns about future demand. The OPEC and the IEA both downgraded energy demand for next year, and with rising US production prices could be facing a supply glut.
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