The Canadian dollar strengthened to a two-week high against its broadly stronger U.S. counterpart on Friday, after domestic jobs data supported the view that the Bank of Canada would reduce its bond purchases as soon as next month.
Canada added 259,000 jobs in February, beating estimates of a 75,000 increase, driven by the reopening of businesses as COVID-19 lockdowns put in place in December and January were eased, data from Statistics Canada data showed.
“While the labor market still has a long ways to go, we believe that the Bank of Canada will have enough confidence in the recovery by mid-April to taper gross purchases in its quantitative easing program,” said Ryan Brecht, a senior economist at Action Economics.
The central bank is buying $4 billion of bonds per week to support the economy. On Wednesday, it signaled it would reduce the pace of purchases as it continues to gain confidence in the strength of the recovery.
The Canadian dollar was trading 0.1 per cent higher at 1.2513 to the greenback, or 79.92 U.S. cents, having touched its strongest since Feb. 25 at 1.2512. For the week, the loonie was on track to gain 1.1 per cent.
The safe-haven U.S. dollar rallied against a basket of major currencies as a fresh spike in U.S. Treasury yields sparked a risk-off move in global currency markets.
The price of oil, one of Canada’s major exports, consolidated its recent gains. U.S. crude prices were down 0.5 per cent at $65.70 a barrel.
Canadian government bond yields were higher across a steeper curve. The 10-year climbed 10.8 basis points to 1.552 per cent, its highest since January last year.
Be smart with your money. Get the latest investing insights delivered right to your inbox three times a week, with the Globe Investor newsletter. Sign up today.