The Canadian dollar is unchanged on Friday, trading at 1.3466 in the European session. We could see some volatility in the North American session, as Canada releases retail sales.
Retail sales expected to decline
The markets are bracing for a downturn in retail sales for November, with a forecast of -0.5% m/m for the headline figure and -0.4% for the core rate. This follows a strong report in October, as the headline reading was 1.4% and core retail sales at 1.7%. If the releases are as expected or lower, it could be a rough day for the Canadian dollar.
Today’s retail sales release is the final major event prior to the Bank of Canada’s meeting on January 25th. The markets have priced in a 25-bp increase, but a hold is also a possibility, especially with December inflation falling to 6.3%, down from 6.8%.
The BoC has raised rates by some 400 basis points in the current rate-tightening cycle, which began in March 2022. Similar to the market outlook on the Fed’s rate policy, there is significant speculation that the BoC could wind up its tightening at the first meeting of 2023 and then keep rates on hold.
The BoC has said that future hikes will be determined by economic data, and there are signs of strength in the economy despite the Bank’s aggressive rate policy. GDP expanded by 2.9% in Q3 which was stronger than expected and job growth sparked in December, with over 100,000 new jobs. The markets will be looking for clues about future rate policy from the rate statement and BoC Governor Macklem’s post-meeting comments.
USD/CAD Daily Chart
- 1.3455 is a weak support line, followed by 1.3328
- 1.3582 and 1.3707 are the next resistance lines