USD/CAD climbs after hawkish Powell, Bank of Canada set to pause

The Canadian dollar has steadied on Wednesday, after sliding 1% a day earlier. Later today, the Bank of Canada meets for its monthly meeting.

BoC likely to pause

The Bank of Canada is widely expected to take a pause at today’s meeting and maintain the cash rate at 4.50%. This would mark the first pause in rate hikes since the current tightening cycle began in January 2022. The BoC has raised rates by 425 basis points during this time and the tightening has had a dampening effect on the economy – GDP in Q4 flattened out and inflation has fallen under 6%.

There is a possibility that the BoC will continue to hold rates, but that will depend on the data, particularly inflation and employment. The shift in policy is bearish for the Canadian dollar, especially with the Federal Reserve expected to continue raising rates. Currently, there is only a 25-bp differential in rates between the US and Canada, but if the Fed keeps raising and the BoC stays on the sidelines, the divergence in rates will weigh on the Canadian dollar, which has plunged some 3% since its February high.

It’s a very different story south of the border, where the US economy is churning out strong numbers and the disinflation process appears to be on hold. In his testimony on Capitol Hill, Fed Chair Powell noted that the latest (January) data was stronger than expected and signalled that the Fed would respond with higher rates than it had previously anticipated. Although the January numbers may have been a blip, the markets are marching to the Fed’s tune and have now priced in a 50-bp hike at the March 22 meeting at 75%, up from 25% prior to Powell’s testimony, according to the CME Group.


USD/CAD Technical

  • 1.3701 and 1.3784 are the next resistance lines
  • 1.3571 is a weak support line, followed by 1.3478

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Kenny Fisher

Kenny Fisher

Market Analyst at OANDA
A highly experienced financial market analyst with a focus on fundamental analysis, Kenneth Fisher’s daily commentary covers a broad range of markets including forex, equities and commodities. His work has been published in several major online financial publications including, Seeking Alpha and FXStreet. Based in Israel, Kenny has been a MarketPulse contributor since 2012.