Canadian dollar cracks 78 U.S. cents on strong jobs data

Fergal Smith
·2 min read
FILE PHOTO: Jordanian Dinar, Yuan, Dollar, Canadian Dollar, Pound and Riyals banknotes are seen in this picture illustration

By Fergal Smith

TORONTO (Reuters) -The Canadian dollar strengthened to a two-year high against its U.S. counterpart on Friday as Wall Street rose and data showed Canada's economy added more jobs than expected in November, with the currency advancing for the third straight week.

Canadian employment rose by 62,000 in November and the unemployment rate fell to 8.5%, both beating analyst expectations. The market also digested U.S. data showing the smallest nonfarm payrolls gain since the jobs recovery started in May.

The "divergence" between the U.S. and Canadian employment reports bolstered the Canadian dollar, said Amo Sahota, director at Klarity FX in San Francisco.

The expectation "that the dire U.S. jobs report will force U.S. lawmakers to compromise and push through federal stimulus is driving equities higher and the USD lower," Sahota said.

Wall Street's main indexes rose to all-time highs and the price of oil, one of Canada's major exports, climbed 1.4% to $46.26 a barrel.

The Canadian dollar was trading 0.6% higher at 1.2785 per greenback, or 78.22 U.S. cents. It was the first time since October 2018 that the currency had traded above 78 U.S. cents.

For the week, the loonie was up 1.6%.

Strategists have raised their forecasts for the Canadian dollar, expecting the currency to benefit from domestic economic stimulus and the rollout of a COVID-19 vaccine, a Reuters poll showed.

A separate Reuters poll showed that the Bank of Canada will not increase its asset-purchase program anytime soon. The central bank is due to make an interest rate decision next Wednesday.

That will give the BoC an opportunity to comment on the stronger Canadian dollar, Sahota said.

Canadian government bond yields were higher across a steeper curve. The 10-year rose 6 basis points to 0.798%, which was its highest since Nov. 13.

(Reporting by Fergal Smith; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Nick Zieminski)