4 Factors Supporting the Loonie Right Now

The Loonie seems to be off to a running start this 2017, thanks to several upside data surprises and Canadian actor Ryan Gosling’s stellar award-winning performance in La La Land. Is Canada finally turning a corner? Check out this breakdown of economic factors keeping CAD supported right now.

1. Big boost in hiring

Number crunchers set the bar pretty low for Canada’s December jobs report, predicting that the economy probably lost 5.1K positions and likely shed more full-time jobs during the month. After all, the Great White North has seen its fair share of dismal employment figures in the past few months as part-time positions often inflated the headline results.

Instead, Loonie traders were treated to a positive surprise with the actual 53.7K gain in employment spurred by an 81.3K rise in full-time hiring – its sharpest climb since March 2012. Part-time positions were down by 26.7K for the month.

From an industry perspective, employment gains were seen in the professional, scientific, and technical services sector, as well as in healthcare and social assistance. However, the agriculture industry reported a 6.8K reduction in jobs while the natural resources sector shed 4.1K positions.

2. First trade surplus since 2014

Canada’s trade balance also turned out much better than expected, printing a surplus of 526 million CAD versus expectations of a 1.6 billion CAD deficit for November. This also marked a considerable improvement over the previous 1.0 billion CAD shortfall.

Components of the November trade balance revealed that the surplus was a result of a 4.3% pickup in exports, which outpaced the 0.7% increase in imports. Overseas shipments of metal and non-metallic mineral products accounted for most of the gains, bringing exports to the U.S. up by nearly 10% to a record $12 billion during the month. Exports to China also advanced by 11.1% mainly on higher coal demand.

Both volumes and prices were up, signaling robust demand and upside pressure on commodity prices. In other words, the figures are indicative of stronger consumption, production, and inflation down the line.

3. Sharp jump in Ivey PMI

Rounding up the string of positive reports from Canada last Friday is the Ivey PMI reading, which jumped from 56.8 to 60.8 in December instead of falling to the consensus at 56.0. Underlying figures showed that the boost came from a rise in the prices sub-index from 60.5 to 73.8 and an increase in inventories from 47.2 to 54.1. On the other hand, the employment component fell from 58.0 to 51.7 while the index for deliveries slipped from 50.1 to 45.9.

Now this report is typically considered a leading indicator of economic health so Loonie traders could still stay wary of potential dips in hiring in the coming months and a slowdown in demand, as hinted by the buildup in inventories and the contraction in deliveries.

4. Positive crude oil outlook

From a longer-term standpoint, the OPEC output deal in November last year could be enough to keep crude oil and the positively-correlated Canadian dollar afloat for the next few months. Recall that the oil cartel pledged to trim production from its previous 33.7 million barrels per day (mb/d) to 32.5 mb/d for six months starting in January this year.

It’s also worth noting that 11 non-OPEC nations namely Russia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Brunei, Equatorial Guinea, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Mexico, Oman, Sudan and South Sudan are also cooperating in the coordinated effort to stabilize the oil market. Last week, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait showed that they are staying true to their word by informing their customers about these planned production cuts.

There’s still a bit of downside pressure left, though, as U.S. oil rig counts have continued to rise since companies are resuming drilling in order to take advantage of the rebound in oil prices. For now, U.S. crude oil inventories reports are showing declines in stockpiles so oversupply might not be a huge concern at the moment.

Think the Loonie can hold on to its gains and go for more? Or is this just a temporary bounce before another wave lower? Let us know what you think in our comments section!


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