Forex Opinion & Analysis

Canadian Dollar Drifts as GDP Looms


Canadian GDP expected to slow in Q4

It’s a very light data calendar for Canadian releases this week, with today’s GDP report the sole tier-1 event. Canada’s economy is expected to slow to 1.5% y/y in the fourth quarter, following a solid 2.9% gain in Q3.

A slowdown in economic activity is what the Bank of Canada is looking for, as inflation remains public enemy number one. CPI is moving in the right direction as it fell to 5.9% in January, down from 6.3% in December. The BoC is optimistic that the downturn will continue, with a forecast that inflation will fall to 3% by mid-2023 and hit the 2% target by the end of the year.

The BoC will have to tread carefully in this tricky economic landscape. The economy is cooling, and while inflation is easing, it remains much higher than the 2% target and will require additional rate hikes, which will make a soft landing a difficult endeavor. If growth continues to weaken in 2023, there is a strong chance of the economy tipping into a recession by mid-2023. The bank meets next on March 8, and the markets are expecting a 0.25% hike for the second straight time. The Bank would like to take a pause in its tightening cycle, but this will require a substantial drop in inflation.

In the US, strong employment and consumer data and stubborn inflation have supported the Fed’s hawkish stance, and there is talk of the Fed raising rates as high as 6%. It was only a few weeks ago that the markets were talking about a ‘one and done’ rate hike in March, followed by a long pause and perhaps some cuts by year’s end.

This has all changed as the US economy has proven to be surprisingly resilient, despite rising rates and high inflation. The markets are currently pricing in three more rate hikes this year, but that could change in a hurry if key releases in February show that the economy is slowing down.

USD/CAD Daily Chart

USD/CAD Technical

  • There is resistance at 1.3701 and 1.3794 for USD/CAD
  • 1.3570 is under strong pressure in support. 1.3478 is the next support line


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