Canadian Dollar Now Worth Less, Currency Takes Hit From Crude Oil Slump

The Canadian dollar was among the currencies worst hit by the recent slump in crude oil prices on Tuesday, resulting in lower performance against the U.S. dollar.

The U.S. dollar improved to C$1.4292, which is the highest it has reached over the Canadian dollar since 2003. On the other hand, the Canadian dollar has seen a steep decline in the past few months, and is now at 70 cents against the U.S.

According to analysts, if these trends keep up, the Canadian dollar could reach a record low of 59 cents against the U.S. dollar by the end of the year.

David Doyle of Macquarie Capital Markets Canada Ltd. said in his forecast on Tuesday that once the country’s currency reaches 59 cents, it will be the lowest since Jan. 21, 2002, when it stood at 61.79 cents compared to the U.S. dollar.

While the forecast seems like a long shot considering the current rate of the Canadian dollar against the U.S. dollar at 70 cents, Doyle has been hitting the mark on his recent forecasts and analyses about the currency.

In fact, Bloomberg Business calls Doyle the “top forecaster of the Canadian dollar.”

Even before the loonie reached 70 cents per U.S. dollar, Doyle had already predicted its occurrence in February of last year, when the Canadian dollar was still valued at 80 cents to the U.S. dollar. He said that the Canadian dollar will be down to 69 cents in the next 12 months.

Reports said that the currency’s poor performance against its U.S. counterpart is mainly caused by disappointing readings on employment growth, manufacture sales, and consumer prices.

Due to these weaknesses, the Bank of Canada’s projections in October will not push through.

Shaun Osborne, chief currency strategist at Scotiabank, said that the country’s central bank has maintained an “upbeat” and “optimistic” view of the economy, although it is difficult to understand how it is able to sustain such optimism.

Osborne added that the country faces an “obvious weakness” in the economy’s domestic side.

As a result, the central bank could soon cut rates, possibly during its next meeting on Jan. 20.

Another reason the central bank remains optimistic is that it has underestimated the effect of low oil prices in the global market, which has continued to hurt the country’s economy over the last few months.

As of Wednesday morning, crude oil is only priced at $30 a barrel, down by more than three percent.

Canada is among the world’s top producers of oil, and produced 3.7 million barrels per day in 2014. However, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) estimates that there will be a 43 percent growth in oil production in the country over the next 16 years.

That means that from 3.7 million a day, the country would produce up to 5.3 million barrels a day come 2030.

As a result, Canada needs to make proper adjustments for the international and domestic demand for oil. Unfortunately, other oil-producing countries are having the same problems, which has resulted in a world economy where there is plenty of oil but less demand for it, leading to a drop in oil prices worldwide.

Unfortunately for Canadians, the steady drop in the value of their dollar will pose some problems that include higher prices of commodities and supermarket products, especially fruits and vegetables. The country imports 80 percent of its fresh produce.

Werner Antweiler, who is a professor at UBC’s Sauder School of Business told Vancity Buzz that lower income families will be more affected by the slump.

However, exports may see increased sales despite the poor performance of the Canadian dollar, which could boost manufacturing industries in Quebec and Ontario.