The Canadian dollar has posted slight losses in the Wednesday session. Early in the North American session, USD/CAD is trading at 1.2150, down 0.40% on the day. On the release front, US inflation numbers improved in August, but fell short of the estimates. PPI improved to 0.2%, shy of the estimate of 0.3%. As well, Core CPI gained 0.1%, short of the forecast of 0.2%. The focus on inflation will continue on Thursday on both sides of the border. Canada releases NHPI, while the US publishes PPI and Unemployment Claims.
The US economy has been performing well in the second quarter. Preliminary GDP came in at a sizzling 3.0%, and the labor market remains close to capacity. Still, the Achilles heel of the economy remains stubbornly low inflation levels. Wage pressure has been limited, despite the fact that many businesses cannot fill job openings. Weak inflation has hampered the Fed’s plans to raise interest rates a third time this year, and the odds of a December hike have dipped to just 31%, as the markets are increasingly doubtful that the Fed will make a move before next year. Will we see stronger numbers from CPI? Both CPI and Core CPI are expected to improve in the September readings, with estimates of 0.2% and 0.3%, respectively.
The Canadian dollar has enjoyed an impressive run, as the currency has jumped 2.7% against the greenback in September. Oil prices have remained close to $50, and stronger economic growth led the BoC to raise the benchmark rate by 25 basis points last week, from 0.75% to 1.00%. The rate hike caught the markets by surprise, and sent USD/CAD down to a 2-year low. However, Canada is heavily reliant on its export sector, and the downside of a strong Canadian dollar is that it makes the country’s exports more expensive. Still, Canadian finance minister Bill Morneau said he had no problem with a higher Canadian dollar, which reflected a strong economy.