For most investors, the major story of 2015 was the expectation and eventual fulfillment of a rate hike, signalling the start of tightening monetary policy in the United States. This policy is divergent to those of other major central banks, and this has translated into considerable strength and momentum for the U.S. dollar. Despite this strength, the best performing currency in 2015 was not the dollar. In fact, the top currency of 2015 is likely to be considered the furthest thing from the greenback.
- Weakness in the Canadian Economy driving its currency lower
- Inverse relationship between commodity prices and USDCAD exchange rate
- Why there could be a reversal in trend
How did the Canadian currency reach a twelve year low?
The US Dollar reached a recent high against CAD at 1.41081 on January 6th a level not seen since August 2003. The general bull trend the green back has been in picked up momentum since talk begun by the Fed of a return to higher interest rates.
WTI Crude prices just broke back to a $35 handle for the first time since mid-December as the combination of un-growth, Saudi price cuts, a rancorous OPEC, and production increases weigh on the world's most important commodity. At the same time, oil producers are getting hit with the Canadian Dollar plunging above 1.4000 to its lowest since 2003...
With markets wrapped up for 2015 now, reviewing the performance of asset classes last year shows that it was one where negative asset class returns were aplenty, while those finishing in positive territory were few and far between. Indeed, of the 42 assets we monitor in Figure 5, just 9 finished with a positive return in Dollar-adjusted terms over the full year. At the other end of the scale there were some notable losers.
It has come down to this: a year in which the US stock market (led by a handful of shares even as the vast majority of stocks has dropped) has gone nowhere, but took the longest and most volatile path to get there, is about to close either red or green for 2015 based on what happens in today's low-volume session following yesterday's unexpected last half hour of trading "air pocket" which brought the S&P back to unchanged for the year.
The last trading week of 2015 begins on a historic precipice for stocks: as reported over the weekend, the U.S. stock market has not been lower for any year ending in a “5? since 1875. That streak is now in jeopardy, because following Thursday's shortened holiday session which ended with an abrupt selloff, the overnight session has seen continued weakness across global assets in everything from Chinese stocks which tumbled the most since November 27, to commodities (WTI is down 2.5%) to European stocks (Stoxx 600 -0.4%), to US equity futures down 0.4% on what appears to be an overdue dose of Santa Rally buyers' remorse.
Along with the currencies of most other commodity-exporting countries, the Canadian dollar has been in near-freefall lately. Gold, meanwhile, has been sucked down with the rest of the commodities complex, falling hard since 2013. But only in US dollars. For Canadians, with their weak domestic currency, gold has been behaving just fine. It’s up 17% in C$ terms over the past two years and looks ready to rally from here. Protection from currency trouble is why people own it, and why in the vast majority of places it’s owners are very happy.
Not since December 2013 have Canadian Consumer Prices dropped by such a large amount. November CPI dropped 0.3% MoM, dramatically worse than expected to the largest drop since Dec 2013. The largest YoY drop in Canadian CPI, amid a surge in inventories relative to a collapsee in wholesale sales sent the loonie crashing above 1.4000 for the first time since August 2003.
Canada will be in an extremely horrible shape from next year on...
If we have a saviour, it is the person in the mirror. If we are to be saved, we alone must do the research, make the plans, vote with our feet and establish our own liberty.
Moments ago, the Bank of Canada's chief finally said what we had been patiently waiting for over the past several months: admission that Europe's experiment with negative rates is about to cross the Atlantic.
With the oil price collapse accelerating (Brent just dropped below $40 for the first time since Feb 2009), the currencies of major oil-exporting nations - such as the Canadian dollar and Norwegian crown - are plunging...
- Anti-Trump Effort Launches Super PAC (WSJ)
- Muslims decry Trump's proposal to keep them out of US (AP)
- Debate Heats Up Over No-Fly List, Gun Sales (WSJ)
- OPEC Takes Down Oil Majors as Lower-for-Even-Longer Kicks In (BBG)
- Chinese Companies Are Trapped in IPO Logjam (WSJ)
- Republican Ted Cruz vaults into first place in new Iowa poll (Reuters)
Over the weekend, in its latest quarterly presentation, the Bank of International Settlements made what may have been a very premature assessment that China is now contained. Judging by events in the past 24 hours, the reality is anything but.
“Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders.” - Buddha