Will fall to fresh 2.5-year lows on the heels of the tomorrow? Probably not.
Unlike the European Central Bank, which is widely expected to ease monetary policy, no action is expected from the BoC. The central bank left monetary policy unchanged when it last met in October and, at the time, it said the 2020 contraction will be smaller than previously forecast, but growth in 2021 will be weaker. Now in December, there are legitimate concerns about growth. Lockdowns have been imposed throughout the country as new coronavirus cases hit record highs. On Monday, more than 7,800 cases were reported, well above the May peak of 2,760. Restrictions were announced early last month and, in Toronto, the country’s most populous region, they will last until Dec. 21.
Yet, Canada’s economic reports have been good, with companies continuing to add jobs at a healthy rate, retail sales and inflation rising. Most of these numbers were from the fall, however, and if Monday’s softer manufacturing PMI report is any gauge, we will soon see more effects of the lockdown. There’s relief in sight with Canada slated to get its first vaccine shipments next week. Taking all of this into consideration, the Bank of Canada will have to decide if its optimistic tone is warranted. With very little new data to justify altering its views, we are not looking for any major changes in the central bank’s outlook on Wednesday.
A glimmer of hope in Brexit talks and the start of a giant vaccine rollout in the UK should have driven sterling higher, but instead, fell for the third day in a row. Early this morning, EU Commission VP Maros Sefcovic said he has reached an agreement in principle on all withdrawal agreement issues with UK Senior Minister Michael Gove ahead of Prime Minister Boris Johnson and EC President Ursula von der Leyen’s in-person dinner on Wednesday evening. The UK has dropped the clauses that conflict with the Withdrawal Agreement from their internal market and finance bills in good faith and, hopefully, progress will be made later tomorrow. Based on sterling’s price action, investors are cautiously optimistic about an end-of-year agreement.
The is finally weakening ahead of Thursday’s big monetary policy announcement. The losses are modest, though with the pair off less than a cent from 2.5-year highs despite the three-day decline. The single currency has been remarkably resilient, thanks in part to stronger data. According to the ZEW survey, German investors are more downbeat about current conditions but upbeat about the next six months. It will be interesting to see how all of that factors into the ECB’s outlook because if it upgrades any part of its future economic projections, we could see further gains for the euro.
Lastly, the rebounded against most of the major currencies, with and the dollar leading the slide. There was no U.S. data, but the clock is ticking for a government funding bill and assistance for as many as 12 million Americans at risk of losing their unemployment benefits the day after Christmas.