Foreign Exchange Guide to Canada
In this guide we review :
- Canadian dollar info - general info about the Canadian dollar
- Canadian dollar in the markets - recent CAD moves and predictions from the FX markets
- Travelling in Canada - currency & money saving tips
- Buying Canadian dollar cash online - travel money for Canada
- Sending money to Canada - save on Canadian dollar bank transfers to Canada
- Canadian dollar exchange rates - latest info & charts.
Canadian dollar (CAD) general currency information
Representing a little more than 5% of the foreign exchange market’s daily turnover, the Canadian dollar (ISO: CAD) is the world’s sixth most traded currency. Frequently called the ‘loonie’ by foreign exchange traders due to the image of a loon (an aquatic bird) on Canada’s one-dollar coin, the currency’s value is heavily influenced by commodities prices, particularly oil. For this reason, the Canadian dollar is often labelled a ‘petro-currency’. Canada currently has the world’s third largest oil reserves and is the world’s fourth largest oil exporter.
Canadians are mostly concerned with the value of their currency against the US dollar, since nearly 80% of Canadian exports go south of the border. In the past two decades, the Canadian dollar’s lowest value against its US counterpart occurred in January 2002 when the CAD/USD exchange rate traded at just 0.6178. The currency’s two-decade high occurred in November 2007 (following a boom in the oil price) when CAD/USD reached 1.1041.
Canadian dollar (CAD) in the markets
Of the many drivers of the Canadian dollar in 2017, chief among them were the hawkishness of the Bank of Canada, oil prices and the uncertainty surrounding NAFTA negotiations with the US and Mexico.
The Canadian dollar ended the year on a high, reaching ten-week highs of 79.9 US cents and 90.04 yen on the final trading day of the year. Like other “petro-currencies,” the Canadian dollar piggybacked off an impressive year-end rally in oil and other commodities. In their last session of the year, oil futures broke $60 per barrel for the first time since mid-2015. The “loonie” is positively correlated with oil due to Canada’s status as the world’s fourth largest oil exporter.
For 2018, ABN Amro are forecasting a slightly lower CAD/USD rate of 0.7813. The bank sees CAD/EUR rising to 0.6793 (2017 year-end rate: 0.6625).
With two rate hikes under its belt since July, the Bank of Canada is one of only two major central banks (together with the US Federal Reserve) to have entered a policy tightening cycle. ABN Amro expects the BoC to hike twice more in 2018.
Canada currency and money saving tips
Accessing ATM's and banks is not a problem in Canada with any major credit card.
Getting around by train is a popular way of travel in Canada as it is a big place. Booking a sleeper car can be comfortable for long distance overnight stretches. VIA Rail's Canrailpass gives you 12 days of unlimited rail travel in Canada during a 30-day period, check VIA Rail's website for current prices. Bus travel in Canada is an economic and comfortable way to travel, Canada's system of intercity bus routes spans the entire country. Some cities also offer flexible transit passes so you can have unlimited all-day, multi-day, or monthly travel.
Canada Trip Checklist
Travel money for Canada
Save money and time by Ordering your Canadian dollar online from Travelex, you get better rates and can pick up the CAD cash locally or even on travel day at the airport.
Another popular option is to use a Pre-paid Travel Card. Your Debit/Credit Card provider will charge you 2% from market mid-rate, but your bank may also charge an extra 3% as an “Overseas Transaction Charge” plus “Overseas ATM” fees for withdrawing cash.
For card purchases if offered a choice of currencies always select to Pay in Canadian dollar otherwise you may get much worst exchange rates.
Sending money to Canada
When sending money to Canada it’s important to compare your bank’s rates & fees with those we have negotiated with our partner money transfer providers. To get a better deal you should follow these 3 simple steps :
- Open an account with a BER reviewed FX provider (id docs may be required)
- You specify the local or Canadian dollar amount you want to transfer
- Make a local currency domestic transfer for the requested amount to the provider's bank account in your country
- Once your funds are received by the provider the converted CAD amount will be transfered to the recipient account you specify in Canada.
By comparing the rates of FX specialist providers rates versus your bank's standard rates you can hopefully save around 5% and maybe more - end result is more Canadian dollar deposited into the recipient bank account in Canada and less margins and fees kept by the banks!