Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has just announced that the country will keep its border restrictions intact for at least another month, until May 21. The decision was made as the country continues battling Covid-19, especially in Ontario, which is Canada’s largest province and home to some 14.7 million people.
The country recently had more new Covid-19 cases than the US for the first time since the pandemic hit. Ontario has been in a state of emergency since 8 April amid a third wave of cases. According to Bloomberg data, Canada has enough vaccines for almost 14% of its population, lagging behind the US and the UK which have enough to account for over 30% of their respective populations.
Trudeau’s announcement apparently prompted the knee jerk reaction in USDCAD. The pair has eased off since, pulling away from overbought territory on the hourly chart.
Zooming out to the daily chart, USDCAD has now breached its 50-day simple moving average (SMA) though remains unable to breach the 1.263 resistance level (as highlighted in Monday’s report) which has repelled any attempt by this pair to break higher since early March.
The recent drop puts the Canadian dollar in third place among the best-performing G10 currency against the US Dollar so far this year. The Norwegian Krone is still in first place, while the British Pound overtook the loonie in second place this week. Also on a year-to-date basis, the Canadian dollar had strengthened against all G10 currencies except for the NOK and the GBP.
However, the CAD has weakened against all of its G10 peers on a month-to-date basis.
From a fundamental perspective, the Canadian dollar’s strength in Q1 had been fuelled by the robust recovery in Canada’s economy. The country added 303,100 jobs in March, which was three times more than market expectations, while also being about 17% higher than the jobs added in the month prior.
Canada’s economic fundamentals should be bolstered by the government’s recently-released budget; its first in two years. This past Monday, Prime Minister Trudeau released the government’s US$80.6 billion spending plan which would span the next three years, featuring over 200 new measures.
This prospects of increased spending, while noting Canada’s aim to keep its debt-to-GDP ratio in check, should also help the loonie take advantage of the softer greenback while keeping the overall downward trend in USDCAD intact.
Bank of Canada to make rate decision Wednesday
With the economy apparently on firmer footing, the Bank of Canada could announce the paring back of its weekly bond purchases, from the current rate of C$4 billion down to C$3 billion, and may even comment about a potential rate hike sooner than 2023.
Should that happen, that could drive up Canada’s government bond yields even higher, which may then serve as a tailwind for the CAD. Such commentary could move USDCAD back below its 50-SMA and closer towards the 1.247 mark.
However, should the BOC adopt a dovish tone in light of Covid-19’s resurgence within its borders, that could surprise markets and trigger another round of weakness in CAD.
Such a dovish surprise could see USDCAD climb towards its 100-SMA and possibly even test the 1.2690 resistance line.
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