This week’s lineup of economic releases might not be as busy as the previous weeks’, but we still spotted one or two reports that Loonie traders can take advantage of.
Let’s take a closer look at them, shall we?
Retail Sales (Feb. 22, 1:30 pm GMT)
Tomorrow at 1:30 pm GMT, Canada will be printing its retail sales numbers for the month of December.
Remember that November’s headline retail sales came in at 0.2% (against 0.5% growth expectations), while its core reading – which excludes volatile items such as automobiles – grew by 0.1%. These translated to an annualized growth of 3.0% for the month.
Volume was a key factor in the previous release. See, retail sales volume improved by 0.7% in November, which put Canada’s economy on track for a pretty good GDP reading in Q4 2016. Of course, it also didn’t hurt that October’s figures were revised higher, with the headline release adjusted from 1.1% to 1.2%.
This time around, market players are looking for a 0.0% – 0.1% increase in the headline retail sales figure while expecting a 0.6% uptick for the core reading. Watch out for possible upside surprises though!
As I mentioned in my Canadian economy snapshot, employment reports in December surprised the upside, which means more spending capacity for potential consumers. The fact that inflation rose less than analysts had expected in December could also contribute to a more active consumer base during the holidaze.
If you’re only trading one of the two reports in this list, then I would suggest trading this report, as the BOC has shown concern for household spending habits in the face of higher household indebtedness.
That is, if retail sales continue to disappoint, then Poloz and his gang just might make good on their threats to cut rates some more.
However, the FOMC’s meeting minutes are also scheduled for release less than 6 hours after the retail sales print, so we might see limited volatility during the trading session anyway.
CPI (Feb. 24, 1:30 pm GMT)
Consumer prices in Canada grew by an annualized rate of 1.5% in December, which is better than November’s 1.2% reading but missed expectations of a 1.7% uptick. On a monthly basis, CPI had grown by 0.2% after declining by 0.4% in November.
Detail shows that the drag in food prices (down 1.3% from a year earlier) really made a dent in the overall picture. See, 7 out of the 8 main components had actually improved, led by transportation (mainly gas prices) rising by 3.0%.
On Friday at 1:30 pm GMT, Canada’s headline CPI figure is expected to clock in a 0.4% growth, while the core reading is estimated to show a 0.1% decline. The headline reading is expected to lift the annualized rate from 1.5% to 1.6%.
Higher expectations for consumer prices sound about right considering that the Bank of Canada (BOC) had upgraded its 2017 inflation forecasts. In its latest revision, the central bank was confident that “the offsetting effects of higher consumer energy prices and lower food prices [will] dissipate” and that economic slack will be absorbed.
Before you trade like there’s no tomorrow though, take note that the Bank of Canada (BOC) uses three measures of inflation, which makes it hard to react to Statistics Canada’s monthly release. Food prices also warrant closer attention, as Poloz and his team are closely watching the component’s notable decreases.
Another thing you should take note of is that the reports above might cause intraweek volatility for the Loonie, but are unlikely to influence the BOC’s dovish stance. After all, Poloz had recently threatened that rate cuts “remain on the table” mainly because of factors such as a possible “protectionist” stance from the U.S. and sluggish business investment