TORONTO: The Canadian dollar dipped against its U.S. counterpart on Monday, easing slightly from a nearly 10-month high last week, as investors awaited a Bank of Canada interest rate decision on Wednesday. At 4 p.m. (2000 GMT), the Canadian dollar CAD=D4 was trading at C$1.2888 to the greenback, or 77.59 U.S. cents, down 0.1 percent. The currency traded in a range of C$1.2870 and C$1.2932. After years of being warned that borrowing costs would have to rise eventually, debt-happy Canadians may be about to face a reckoning if the Bank of Canada hikes rates this week. Forecasters are divided on whether the central bank will raise rates on Wednesday, but data from the overnight index swaps market shows that money markets are almost fully priced for an increase, while an 80 percent chance of a second hike has been implied by December.
“We’re struggling to buy into a hawkish narrative from the Bank of Canada,” said Amo Sahota, director at Klarity FX in San Francisco. “They may just only be taking back the 2015 rate cut, not necessarily moving into a full tightening cycle,” he said, adding the Canadian economy was not ready for an aggressive move, given lingering signs of a lack of business investment, concerns over inflation and uncertainty over North American Free Trade Agreement negotiations. The U.S. dollar .DXY climbed against a basket of major currencies, boosted by robust jobs data on Friday, although investors were wary of adding big positions before Federal Reserve chief Janet Yellen’s testimony, also on Wednesday. “This is a big week for evaluating how hawkish the hawks really want to be,” said Sahota.
On Friday, the loonie touched its strongest level in nearly 10 months at C$1.2860 after stronger-than-expected domestic jobs data boosted chances of a rate increase as soon as this week. Speculators cut bearish bets on the loonie for a sixth straight week, data from the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission and Reuters calculations showed on Friday. Canadian dollar net short positions fell to 39,372 contracts as of July 3 from 49,495 a week earlier. Canadian government bond prices were mixed across the yield curve, with the two-year CA2YT=RR up 2 Canadian cents to yield 1.154 percent and the 10-year CA10YT=RR down 3 Canadian cents to yield 1.888 percent.