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US Dollar Pushing Through Trendline vs Canadian Dollar

By Marc Chandler

This Great Graphic, created on Bloomberg, shows the US dollar is threatening to move above a trendline against the Canadian dollar drop off the 2011 and 2012 highs.

CAD

The proximate cause is the dismal retail sales report., which collapsed 2.1% in December.  The market had been looking for a 0.3% decline.  It is the largest decline since September 2011.

In a larger sense, other factors have been weighing on the Canadian dollar.  As we have been tracking in our week technical analysis and positioning piece (latest here). 

Part of this may be a reflection of the unwinding of safe havens, which has also weighed on the yen, Swiss franc and sterling.  Part of the Canadian dollar’s weakness also reflect a more dovish central bank as it continues to push out the eventual “removal of accommodation”.  

Some may want to attribute the CAD’s weakness to oil prices, but we are less sanguine.  The correlation has been trending down.  On a 60-day rolling basis, looking at the percent change in oil and CAD vs USD, the correlation has been trending lower from near 0.80 to 0.20 in early February.  It is below 0.3 now.  Also, we note that as oil (WTI) trended higher from mid-November through late January, the Canadian dollar was not helped.

A word of caution before chasing the US dollar higher.  The market is not pricing no chance of a rate hike this year.  It is unlikely to switch to a cut.  Also, the US dollar is well above the top of its Bollinger Band (2 standard deviations about the 20-day moving average).  This has not happened for a couple of years.  CAD bears may be better served waiting for a bounce to sell into rather than chase it here.

Marc Chandler

About 

Marc Chandler joined Brown Brothers Harriman in October 2005 as the global head of currency strategy. Previously he was the chief currency strategist for HSBC Bank USA and Mellon Bank. In addition to frequently providing insight into the developments of the day to newspapers and news wires, Chandler's essays have been published in the Financial Times, Barron's, Euromoney, Corporate Finance, and Foreign Affairs. Marc appears often on business television and is a regular guest on CNBC and writes a blog called Marc to Market. Follow him on twitter.

2 Comments

  1. Marc, It seems to me (from my data investigations) like the correlation between USDCAD and crude is weaker above $90/barrel, stronger below $90 a barrel. If oil prices do head lower, expect the CAD to become weaker as this correlation becomes stronger again. It’s not a slam dunk, but it sure seems like the CAD tracks oil when it’s between $65 and $90.