Canadian Dollar General Info
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.Read our Travel Guide to Canada
CAD - Currency Market News
Having climbed to a 26-month high against the dollar of 0.829 (USD/CAD 1.206) in September following an unexpected Bank of Canada rate hike, the Canadian dollar spent much of the next five weeks losing value. By mid-October, the “loonie” had weakened back to 0.794 (USD/CAD 1.259). Softness in the currency reflected an improved outlook for USD and concerns that NAFTA negotiations with the US and Mexico might unravel.
Interestingly, in the five or so weeks prior to this report, the Canadian dollar had relaxed its dependency on oil as a driver of its valuation. During this period, prices for US oil futures rose more than 10%, yet the Canadian dollar weakened by 4% against the US dollar and by 1% against the euro.
In September, Dutch bank ABN Amro predicted that CAD would strengthen to 1.12 per USD by the end of 2018. As its reasons, ABN cited “strong conviction” on future USD weakness, future commodity price rises, an improvement in global trade and further rate hikes by the Bank of Canada.
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.
Analysts at Scotiabank predicted in September that Canadian interest rates would be raised to 1.75% by the end of 2018; they stand currently at 1%.