USD/CAD - Canadian Dollar Hangs on to Gains

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The Canadian dollar inched higher overnight, following on the heels of AUD/USD and NZD/USD gains. The move was sparked when China announced a surge in its trade surplus, fueled by an 18.1% increase in exports. The data suggests that China has put the coronavirus crisis behind it, and the economy is expanding. Canadian dollar gains lagged the Antipodean currencies, despite firm crude oil prices.

USD/CAD dropped during the week before Christmas and found a bottom in the $1.2630 area in the first week of trading in 2021. The drop occurred in thin year-end markets, and is likely not warranted by domestic fundamentals. Sure, WTI oil prices rallied, by Canada’s main export, Western Canada Select, (WCS) is trading at a $12.90 discount. The 365-day average discount is $11.43/barrel. Canada’s budget deficit has ballooned to the $400-billion area, while the domestic economy remains weak. The latest COVID-19 outbreak led to curfews in Montreal and "stay-at-home" orders in Ontario. It is extremely hard to justify the current USD/CAD rate.

The Canadian dollar is underpinned by expectations of further U.S. dollar weakness after Joe Biden details his stimulus plans. The significant items are well-known, which is behind the recent US dollar retreat. Arguably, markets could react buy "buying the news, after selling the rumour."

EUR/USD tried to break support at $1.2140 but failed. Prices zig-zagged in a $1.2137-$1.2171 range. Italian politics provided a distraction, after a junior partner pulled out of Prime Minister Conte’s coalition, in a dispute over EU funds. Traders ignored German Gross Domestic Product data which showed GDP shrinking 5.0% in 2020. Traders are looking ahead to this morning’s U.S. Jobless claims report and Biden’s speech. The intraday technicals are bearish below $1.2190, looking for a break below the $1.2120-40 area to extend losses to $1.2000.

GBP/USD is consolidating recent gains in a $1.3600-$1.3700 range. Some analysts believe that with Brexit put to bed, foreign investors are jumping back into U.K. assets, which is underpinning the currency. Others, including the Bank of England, are concerned about the negative impact on the economy from the latest COVID-19 outbreak, and measures to contain it. The intraday technicals are bullish above $1.3630, looking for a retest of $1.3700.

Today, Fed speakers include Eric Rosengren, Robert Kaplan, and Raphael Bostic. Fed Chair Jerome Powell speaks at 12:30 ET

U.S. Jobless Claims and Trade data are being released today.

Rahim Madhavji is the President of KnightsbridgeFX.com, a Canadian currency exchange that provides better rates than the banks to Canadians
Learn how KnightsbridgeFX can help you save up to 2% when buying or selling US dollars compared to your Canadian bank’s rates – click here to compare bank rates