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Canadian dollar update – Wednesday August 19, 2020. Freeland named Finance Minister.

FX & market recap:

The US dollar is modestly lower at the NY open as downward momentum wanes. Asia equities closed on a mixed note while European indexes inched higher along with S&P futures. The US election is on the home stretch with Joe Biden the Democrat candidate for President.

The release of the FOMC minutes is cited as the reason for the lack of market price action overnight. The minutes shouldn’t be a factor as the July meeting was benign. Fed Chair Jerome Powell said in his press conference opening statement: "We remain committed to using our tools to do what we can, and for as long as it takes, to provide some relief and stability, to ensure that the recovery will be as strong as possible, and to limit lasting damage to the economy."

Canadian dollar highlights:

USD/CAD is under performing against its antipodean currency peers. Domestic political drama may be playing a role. Back in the day, a minority government, massive budget deficits, weak oil prices, and massive budget deficits, would have sent USD/CAD soaring. Firing the Finance Minister would have been gasoline on the fire.

Chrystia Freeland is considered a star politician and credited for her management of the US/Canada trade talks and has been named the new Finance Minister. The federal government is running a $345 billion deficit. Traders are focused solely on US stock markets and US interest rates.

Canada July CPI (forecast 0.5% m/m vs June 0.7% and wholesale sales data are due today. The reports won’t have any effect on USD/CAD.

Euro highlights:

EUR/USD trade quietly in a 1.1923-1.1952 range and inflation data was not a factor. Eurozone July CPI fell 0.4% compared to the forecast for a drop of 0.3% m/m. The emergency EU summit to discuss events in Belarus has begun. The intraday technicals are bullish with the break above 1.1910 and looking for a test and eventual break above resistance at 1.2010, although momentum indicators are waning.

British pound highlights:

GBP/USD is trading just above the bottom of the 1.3223-66 range. Sterling caught a bit of a bid when UK inflation surprised to the upside. July CPI rose 0.4% compared to forecasts for a 0.1% decline m/m. The rally quickly reversed as the gain was due to higher gasoline prices. The EU/UK trade discussions have started. The BBVC reports the government believes a deal is achievable by September.

Asia Pacific highlights:

USD/JPY dropped to 105.11 from 105.60 and is trading at 105.29 in NY. Bearish US dollar sentiment and a drop in 10- US Treasury yields from 0.68% in Asia to 0.653% in NY weighed on prices. Meanwhile, AUD/USD and NZD/USD rallied, underpinned by broad US dollar weakness. AUD/USD made another 2020 high this morning.

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