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The Canadian dollar is touching parity with the greenback after another week of gains. Gross Domestic Product and employment figures are the highlights of this week. Here’s an  outlook  for the Canadian events and an updated technical analysis for USD/CAD.

Ben Bernake’s extended rate pledge and hints of QE3 certainly helped weaken the US dollar. In Canada, the leading index continued rising with a 0.8% gain in December after climbing 0.9% in the previous month suggesting positive growth. Retail sales gained 0.3% in October supporting predictions while Core sales topped expectations with 0.3% climb. Will the Canadian market continue its growth this week?

Updates: USD/CAD jumped to resistance at 1.0070 at the beginning of the new week as European worries boost the greenback. The drop below parity was short lived. Despite fears about the closure of the Straight of Hormuz, the fears from Europe won and the pair is in the 1.0000 to 1.0070 range once again. The Canadian contraction hurt the loonie, but new global hope certainly helps it recover. USD/CAD is under parity once again. The struggle continues.

USD/CAD  daily chart with support and resistance lines on it. Click to enlarge:USD/CAD Chart January 30 February 3 2012

  1. GDP: Tuesday, 13:30. Canada’s economy was marching in place in October with no change in GDP following 0.2% growth in the previous month amid a decline in the manufacturing sector. Economists expected GDP growth of 0.1%. This weak reading may suggest low growth rate in the 4th quarter. An expansion of 0.2% is predicted now.
  2. RMPI: Tuesday, 13:30. Raw material price index ticked up 3.8% in November driven by higher oil prices following 1.0% decrease in the previous month. Meanwhile industrial product price index increased by 0.2% after 0.1% decline in October. These figures are encouraging in light of the hardship expected this year. RMPI is expected to climb 0.2% while IPPI is predicted to rise 0.1%.
  3. Employment data: Friday, 12:00. The Canadian economy added 175,000 jobs in December a bit lower than the 178,000 anticipated but still a good improvement from last month’s 18,600 job decline. There was an increase of 43,000 part-time positions, while full-time employment declined by 26,000 jobs. However the job market is not too stable with the recent rise in unemployment rate reaching 7.5% suggesting s slow growth in 2012. The labor market is expected to increase 23,500 new positions while unemployment rate is expected to remain 7.5%.

* All times are GMT.

USD/CAD  Technical  Analysis

Dollar/CAD started the week with a dive. The first attempt to break 1.0070 failed, and resistance at 1.0143 (mentioned last week) was then targeted. The failure to break higher sent he pair tumbling down, and after flirting with parity, it closed at 1.0011.

Technical lines, from top to bottom:

1.0550 is a minor line on the way up – a line which can slow the pair.  1.0500 is another minor line of resistance. It was a  pivotal around the same time and was a  point  of resistance before the pair fell.

1.0430 provided support when the pair was trading at higher ground during November and was tested successfully also in December, making it stronger.  1.0360 capped the pair in September and October and also provided support. It is weaker now.

The round number of 1.03 was the peak of a move upwards seen in November 2010 and has found new strength after working as a cap in January 2012. 1.0263 is the peak of surges during October, November and December, but was shattered after the move higher. The break above this line proved to be temporary, and it returned to the previous strength.

The round figure of 1.02 was a cushion when the pair dropped in November, and also the 2009 trough. It is weaker now but remains pivotal.  1.0143 was a swing low in September and worked as resistance several times afterwards. It is a strong line of resistance and should be watched on every move higher.

1.0070 was a trough more than once in November, December and January. It switches to significant resistance now. The very round number of USD/CAD parity is a clear line of course, and will likely see a new battle as trading begins.

Under parity,  the round number of 0.99 provided support on a fall during October and also served as resistance back in June. 0.9830 provided support for the pair during September.

0.9780, where the current run began is the next and important support line. It is closely followed by 0.9736, which provided support during August 2011.

The veteran 0.9667 line worked as support at the beginning of 2011 and then for several months during the spring. It is a very clear and strong line on the chart. 0.9550 worked as support during April and also June and is minor now.

0.9406 was the trough in July 2011 and is the final frontier for now.

I am bearish on USD/CAD.

The rising  oil prices  certainly help the Canadian dollar. The Iranian threat to stop selling oil to Europe could hike prices even more. In addition, the positive figures seen in the US and the easy monetary policy all support a stronger Canadian dollar and a weaker US one. If Canadian employment figures don’t disappoint, the Canadian dollar could enjoy another positive week.

Further reading: