The Canadian dollar weakened against the greenback on Thursday, as lower oil prices offset stronger-than-expected domestic data and Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz continued to signal a more gradual pace of future interest rate hikes.
The Canadian dollar traded 0.3 per cent lower, at 1.3222 to the greenback, or 75.63 U.S. cents. The currency, which notched a two-week high on Wednesday, at 1.3151, traded in a range of 1.3163 to 1.3232.
Poloz indicated he was in no rush to resume monetary tightening, saying that while interest rates needed to move up into a neutral range of between 2.5 per cent and 3.5 per cent over time, the path back was now “highly uncertain.”
The Bank of Canada has raised interest rates by 125 basis points since July, 2017. Chances of another hike by the end of the year were unchanged from Wednesday at less than 20 per cent, data from the overnight index swaps market indicated.
Poloz’s comments “didn’t add anything knew,” said Greg Anderson, global head of foreign exchange strategy at BMO Capital Markets in New York. “The event risk of this is out of the picture now and oil prices are softer. The end result is buying of USD-CAD.”
The price of oil, one of Canada’s major exports, sank below recent 2019 highs as U.S. government data showed a sharp build in crude stocks and record production, while concerns about slowing global economic growth weighed on the market.
In contrast, Canadian wholesale trade beat analysts’ forecasts for a 0.1-per-cent decline. Wholesale trade increased by 0.3 per cent in December from November on stronger sales in the motor vehicle and parts subsector, Statistics Canada said.
A separate report, from ADP, showed that Canada added 35,400 jobs in January as hiring increased in the trade, transportation and utilities and professional and business services sectors.
Canadian government bond prices were lower across the yield curve in sympathy with U.S. Treasuries. The two-year fell 4.5 Canadian cents to yield 1.795 per cent and the 10-year declined 19 Canadian cents to yield 1.917 per cent.