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  • Canada's Central Bank Sparks Concern

    On January 21, the Canadian dollar (NYSEARCA:CAD) hit a four-year low against the U.S. dollar (NYSEARCA:USD) amid concerns over the Bank of Canada and the U.S. Federal Reserve. The CAD broke through the C$1.10 mark, which has long been considered a psychological barrier that can have a drastic effect on future forex trading. However, the CAD did gain slightly before the close of the day in the North American market.

    The fall of the CAD was said to originate the night before when the USD unexpected rose after news broke of possible cutbacks in the Federal Reserve's program designed to stimulate the U.S. economy and domestic investing. No official announcement was ever made, but the article published in the Wall Street Journal stated that the Fed may drop its bond purchases to $65 billion per month from its current monthly purchases of $75 billion.

    The reason why the CAD dropped from the news concerning the Fed is that investors are expected to start purchasing U.S. currency instead of Canadian. However, concerns about the Bank of Canada have been in play for some time and may come to a head in only a few days.

    Late last year, the Bank of Canada dropped discussions about rate hikes after it had been suggesting they were on the horizon for nearly 18 months. This event immediately caused the CAD to waver on the market, which has appreciated the USD against the pair by more than 6 percent. A full 3 percent of this increase came in January 2014.

    The executive director of foreign exchange sales at CIBC World Markets in Toronto, Don Mikolich, has agreed that CAD trading is at a downturn, stating, "The sentiment does continue to be quite firmly against Canada." Mikolich continued by discussing the fact that the Bank of Canada is comfortable in the weakening of the currency. "It's hard to say what levels they have in mind, ultimately, but I don't think we're there yet," Mikolich said.

    At the close of the trading day on January 21, the CAD was at C$1.0972 against the USD. The last time the currency pair had been this low was in September 2009 when the CAD fell to C$1.1019 against the USD.

    The Bank of Canada is due to release two important updates later in the week that may also affect the CAD: its annual Monetary Policy Report and a decision on interest rates. However, interest rates are expected to stay fixed at 1 percent.

    Jan 29 10:30 AM | Link | Comment!
  • 2014 Could Be The Year Of The U.S. Dollar
    The United States dollar (NYSEARCA:USD) recently posted gains against the euro and the yen after minutes from the December meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) were released.

    The minutes indicate two major developments: First, the U.S. Federal Reserve is on track to reduce its bond purchase program at a gradual pace. Second, the Fed's outlook for the U.S. economy is positive.

    The FOMC minutes were released on Wednesday, January 8th. Earlier that day, the closely-watched National Employment Report from payroll technology firm ADP was also positive as it indicated that the private sector closed 2013 by adding 238,000 jobs in December. Forex traders responded quickly to the news, which caused the USD to rise against the euro and the yen by 0.3 percent.

    Quite a few forex market analysts believe that scenarios similar to the one above will be more common in the year ahead. As the world's largest economy recovers from the Great American Recession and the global financial crisis, investing in the USD is expected to be a bullish move for the first half of the year.

    USD Consensus for 2014

    Trading the greenback is something that just about all forex traders get into in their lifetimes. The USD is part of the currency pairs known as the forex majors, which include the EUR/USD and the USD/JPY. The forecast for the euro and the yen in 2014 is not the brightest. In fact, many analysts believe that both the euro and the yen will perform very poorly from January to June. The EUR/USD seems to even be on a downtrend from the year 2008, continually slipping lower in price than previous years.

    (click to enlarge)

    (click to enlarge)

    The European Union economies are expected to languish over the next few months. The Bank of Japan is expected to flood the market with cash for the purpose of offsetting the immediate effects of a sales tax increase. The U.S. economy, on the other hand is expected to experience a gradual recovery in terms of employment, real estate and consumer spending.

    The consensus on the USD index, which is currently at about 81.14, is that it will reach 85 by December 2014. The euro, however, could drop to $1.27 by the end of the year. This is not the first time that analysts are forecasting a significant fall of the euro, but they seem to be a bit more certain this time around.

    Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.

    Jan 28 5:17 PM | Link | Comment!
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