The Canadian dollar continues to sag and has dropped 1.9% this week. Hold onto your hats, as we could have some further volatility from USD/CAD in the North American session, with the release of the US and Canadian employment reports.
All eyes on NFP
The highlight of the day is the US nonfarm payrolls report, which is expected to head back to earth after a blowout gain of 517,000 in January. The consensus for February stands at 205,000, and a wide miss of this figure on either side will likely shake up the US dollar. A weak reading would fuel speculation of a Fed pivot and likely weigh on the US dollar, while a strong figure would support the Fed’s hawkish stance and should be bullish for the greenback.
The ADP payroll report, which precedes the nonfarm payroll release, improved to 242,000, up from an upwardly revised 119,000 and above the estimate of 200,000. The ADP reading is not considered all that reliable at forecasting the nonfarm payrolls report, so I wouldn’t read too much into it. Still, the US labor market remains strong despite the Fed’s tightening, and I would not be surprised to see nonfarm payrolls follow the ADP’s lead and beat the estimate.
In addition to nonfarm payrolls, the Fed will also be keeping a close eye on wage growth. Average hourly earnings are expected to rise to 4.7% y/y in February, up from 4.4% y/y in January. The Fed is focused on lowering inflation, and an acceleration in wage growth could prompt the Fed to be more aggressive with its pace of rate increases.
Canada also recorded a sharp gain in new jobs in January, with a reading of 150,000, up from 104,000 prior. The markets are braced for a small gain of 10,000 in February, and a soft print of 5,000 or lower would likely weigh on the Canadian dollar. The unemployment rate is expected to tick up to 5.1%, up from 5.0%.
USD/CAD Daily Chart
- There is support at 1.3787 and 1.3660
- 1.3927 and 1.4190 are the next resistance lines