WEALTH Matters — Spring 2014

Currency Exchange Rates

By the end of the first quarter of 2014, the Canadian Dollar (CAD) slid to its lowest level against the US Dollar (USD) since mid-2009. The CAD had steadily risen in value in the years leading up to the 2008 financial crisis, and after a setback in 2008-2009, has spent most of the past few years in the $0.95-1.00USD range.

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The high CAD has hurt Canadian job growth in the post-2008 era, and the $0.90 level is much better for job creation, competitiveness of our exports, and balance of payments. Though the Bank of Canada denies any attempt to keep the dollar low, its focus on job and economic growth should contribute to keeping it that way. (Sources: Globe and Mail Feb 22, TD Economics).

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We started 2013 at parity with the USD and by year-end had dropped to $0.95 due to improving economic data from the US, which strengthened the US currency. The new Bank of Canada Governor, Stephen Poloz, said in his December speech that he was no longer expecting to raise the Bank’s overnight rate given weakness in employment and economic growth, which pushed the CAD down to about $0.90USD. While Canadian economic indicators improved during the first quarter, January’s start of civil unrest in Ukraine sent institutional investors seeking the perceived safety of USD-denominated assets, keeping the exchange rate at this level

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