The Canadian dollar weakened against its U.S. counterpart on Thursday, pulling back from an earlier near three-month high, as oil prices fell and domestic data showed a greater-than-expected plunge in exports due to the coronavirus crisis.
Canada posted a trade deficit of $3.25 billion in April as exports fell by nearly 30 per cent to the lowest level in more than 10 years at $32.7 billion. Analysts had forecast exports would be $42.1 billion.
“This dismal report adds to the evidence that the economy contracted sharply in April,” said Ryan Brecht, a senior economist at Action Economics. “However, the reopening of the economy and recovery in energy prices in May suggests that April will mark the bottoming out of activity.”
On Wednesday, the Bank of Canada said the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the global economy appears to have peaked, while the Canadian economy seems to have avoided worst-case scenario projections.
The price of oil, one of Canada’s major exports, dropped on doubts over the ability of crude producers to agree to extend record output cuts. U.S. crude oil futures were down 1.5 per cent at $36.73 a barrel.
The Canadian dollar was trading 0.2 per cent lower at 1.3522 to the greenback, or 73.95 U.S. cents. The currency touched its strongest intraday level since March 9 at 1.3468.
The loonie is likely to slip in coming months as a collapse in global trade and the prospect of a more prolonged slowdown from the coronavirus pandemic put pressure on the currency, a Reuters poll showed.
Canadian government bond yields were mixed across a flatter curve on Thursday as investors weighed the European Central Bank’s decision to ramp up its Pandemic Emergency Purchase Programme to 1.35 trillion euros, a level that was beyond what most analysts had predicted. The 10-year yield was nearly unchanged at 0.619 per cent.
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