USD/CAD bears eager to keep pair below 1.3000 ahead of key economic data releases
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USD/CAD bears eager to keep pair below 1.3000 ahead of key economic data releases

  • USD/CAD made fresh multi-year lows below earlier on during Monday’s session, but sharply rebounded.
  • However, sellers came in with force below 1.3000 to keep the pair subdued as attention turns to this week’s crucial data.

USD/CAD has been choppy today, swinging between fresh multi-year lows just beneath 1.2930 and highs in the 1.2990s. The move from lows back to earlier highs seems to have been driven by a sudden surge of USD demand going into the 16:00GMT London Fix, but sellers seemed keen to keep the cross below 1.3000 ahead of a week jam-packed with key data on both the US and Canadian side of the border.

Other key themes to watch this week will be what happens with OPEC+; the cartel has reportedly delayed its meeting to 3 December (Thursday), given the need for more time for talks. As long as OPEC+ can deliver on market expectations for at least a three-month roll-over of output cuts, this ought to keep oil prices relatively well supported and in turn assist CAD. If the cartel disappoints and oil plummets, this of course does not bode well for the loonie.  

Key US and Canadian data to watch this week…

At 13:30GMT on Tuesday, Canadian GDP data for September and Q3 is released, with Q3 growth expected to come in at 47.0% (QoQ annualised). September growth is seen coming in at 0.9% (MoM), a slight moderation in the MoM pace of growth in August of 1.2%. September GDP data is likely to be seen as a little out of date, given the recent worsening of the Covid-19 situation in North America since October.

At 15:00GMT on Tuesday, US ISM Manufacturing PMI for November is released, with the headline number expected to come in at 57.9. As ever, the subindices (such as Employment, New Orders, Prices Paid) will also be closely watched. Indeed, new orders (the most “forward-looking aspect of the report) hit 67.9 last month, its highest level since January 2004, boding well for US manufacturing over the coming months. Wells Fargo note that the pandemic has seen consumers shift their spending from services (i.e. experiences that have been shut down) towards physical goods, which has supported the global manufacturing rebound. Moreover, “with multiple effective vaccines on the horizon, we will be looking for signs of a business investment acceleration in the U.S. manufacturing data”, says the bank.

At 15:00GMT on Thursday, US ISM Services PMI for November is released, with the headline number expected to come in at 56.0. Most analysts expect the US services sector to weaken over the coming months as a direct result of Covid-19 restrictions and the higher levels of cautious behaviour exhibited by consumers amid higher levels of virus prevalence during the Winter. Some suggest that weakness in services survey data might add pressure on the Fed to ease policy in some way in December.

Finally, on Friday, the official US and Canadian labour market reports are released at 13:30GMT. Starting with the US report; the US economy is seen having added 500K jobs in November, bringing the unemployment rate modestly lower to 6.8% from 6.9%. Despite consensus expectations for a rise in total US employment, TD Securities see a “high likelihood of contraction in the December report”, reflective of the fact that the bank expects “the downtrend in the unemployment rate to at least stall in the next few months before vaccines help turn momentum in employment positive again during the course of 2021”.

Turning to the Canadian labour market report; the economy is seen adding a modest 27.5K jobs, leaving the unemployment rate unchanged at 8.9%. CIBC note that “the labour market was able to outrun the pickup in virus cases for longer than anticipated, but it’s likely that Covid caught up with Canadian employment in November”. The bank explains that their below consensus forecast for the economy shed roughly 10K jobs in November “takes into account public health restrictions implemented in late October and early November, but does not include the latest lockdowns in parts of the country, as they occurred after the survey’s reference period”.

USD/CAD carves out new range, but for how long?

To the upside, resistance in the mid-1.2990s is keeping USD/CAD gains contained. This level served as support for most of last week up until Friday, since when it has turned into resistance. To the downside, the 1.2930 area has proven to be tough support for a second time this month.

This area is thus likely to form something of a short-term range for USD/CAD to coalesce within until this week’s crucial US and Canadian labour market data really shakes things up from a fundamental perspective.

While contained with the above-mentioned intra-day range, USD/CAD also continues to trade within the confines of a downwards trend channel; to the downside, this trendline linked 16, 18 and 24 November lows and to the upside it linked the 13, 19, 23 and 24 November highs.

Should this trend channel should come into play as resistance around the 1.3030 level, which also coincides roughly with last Wednesday, Thursday and Friday’s highs. If USD/CAD takes the path of least resistance, which would be to continue its grind lower within the confines of this trend channel, then another test of multi-year lows at just under 1.2930 is likely. Once this level goes, the next key area of support comes in more than two big figures away at just below the 1.2800 mark.

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