A practical foreign exchange and currency guide to Canada
What’s in this Canada currency guide:
The official currency of Canada is the Canadian dollar, with symbol C$ and currency code CAD.
Representing a little more than 5% of the foreign exchange market 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 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.
The Canadians are more focussed on their currency exchange rate than are the citizens of most other countries, along with perhaps the Australians and British. This is may be due to the open and trading nature of the Canadian economy and also due to their long border with the USA.
In January oil prices have jumped to the highest levels since late October above $80 per barrel, leading analysts to predict another rally for the Canadian Dollar.
Given the outperformance of the CAD in 2021, it was no surprise to see some consolidation from late October as investors took profits. However, by the end of the year the gloss was well and truly off the loonie with it falling to a 1-YEAR LOW below 78 cents.
CADUSD has however revived somewhat in the first weeks of 2022 with the level heading back towards 80 cents.
ING think CAD is in oversold territory. They expect more tapering by the Bank of Canada to support the Canadian dollar into year-end, and the short positioning may help limit the loonie’s downside.
04 Jan 2022
20 Oct 2021
18 Jan 2021
19 Jan 2017
21 Jan 2012
23 Jan 2002
The below comparison table makes it easy to find the best exchange rates and lowest fees when you want to make a Transfer or Spend Canadian dollar.
Accessing ATMs 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 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.
You can read about the best providers and compare the latest deals for international money transfers to Canada in our Send Money to Canada guide.