By Fergal Smith
TORONTO (Reuters) – The Canadian dollar weakened to its lowest level in nearly two years against the greenback on Friday and Canada’s stock market fell more than 1% as investors grew cautious ahead of domestic inflation data and a Federal Reserve interest rate decision next week.
The Canadian dollar was trading 0.4% lower at 1.3285 per U.S. dollar, or 75.27 U.S. cents, after touching its weakest since November 2020 at 1.3307. For the week, the loonie was down 1.9%, its biggest weekly decline since August 2021.
It follows hotter-than-expected U.S. inflation data on Tuesday that spooked financial markets globally and pushed the U.S. dollar sharply higher against a basket of major currencies.
“The dollar is an unstoppable juggernaut right now, with higher-than-expected inflation and an ever-more-hawkish Federal Reserve sucking capital into the United States and inflicting damage on the rest of the world economy,” said Karl Schamotta, chief market strategist at Corpay.
Money markets expect the Fed to hike interest rates by three-quarters of a percentage point next Wednesday.
The World Bank said on Thursday that the global economy might be inching toward a recession.
Canada is a major exporter of commodities, including oil, so the loonie tends to be particularly sensitive to the global economic outlook.
In a possible signal that investors expect a recession, the inversion of Canada’s yield curve grew larger.
The 10-year yield fell 68 basis points below the 2-year yield after the latter touched its highest intraday level since December 2007 at 3.870%.
Canada’s inflation data for August is due next Tuesday, with all eyes on measures of underlying price pressures.
“Market participants, burnt by Tuesday’s U.S. (data)surprise … are bracing themselves for a range of outcomes,” Schamotta said.
The cautious mood spilled over to the stock market, with both Wall Street and the Toronto stock market trading lower.
“The markets are in a bit of a risk-off mode,” said Greg Taylor, a portfolio manager at Purpose Investments. “The really big fear is that we’re going to start to see some earnings warnings from companies as the economy starts to slow down.”
The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was down 1.2% at 19,326.70, including declines for technology, energy and financial shares.
For the week, the index was on track to lose 2.3%.
(Reporting by Fergal Smith; Aniruddha Ghosh and Johann Cherian in Bengaluru; editing by Jonathan Oatis)