The Canadian Dollar: What Every Forex Trader Needs To Know


Among the major currencies covering the largest part of forex trading volume is the Canadian dollar (CAD), colloquially known as the "Loonie" due to the image of a loon bird on the back of the C$1 coin. This article aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the CAD, a brief overview of its historical journey, and the factors driving it in the forex market today.

Understanding the Canadian Dollar

Over the years, the CAD has weathered fluctuations and policy shifts, impacting not only its value but also its influence in the world of finance.

Originally, Canada used the British pound as its official currency, but it was gradually replaced by the Canadian dollar, which has been the country’s official currency since 1858.

Following the establishment of the Bretton Woods system, Canada allowed its currency to fluctuate freely between 1950 and 1962, a period that culminated in a significant devaluation event. Subsequently, Canada adopted a fixed exchange rate until 1970, at which point mounting inflation pressures prompted the government to return to a floating currency system.

Canadian Economy

Canada boasts a stable and resource-rich economy that is also well diversified, yet when examining Canada's economic landscape, it's crucial to take into account its significant involvement in commodities. Canada is a significant producer and exporter of petroleum, minerals, wood products, and grains.

Canadian Dollar Exchange Rate Catalysts

Various factors influence the value of the Loonie in the forex market. Here, we will explore some of the primary catalysts.

Monetary Policy Decisions Impact CAD Predictions

Interest rate announcements by the Bank of Canada usually take place eight times a year on predetermined dates. Higher interest rates often attract foreign investment in the economy, leading to an appreciation of the CAD's value. Following two consecutive pauses, the Bank of Canada surprisingly increased its overnight lending rate by 25 basis points on June 7th, 2023, reaching 4.75 per cent. This decision was primarily prompted by a rise in inflation to 4.4 per cent, marking the first uptick in 10 months. Notably, the EUR/CAD exchange rate exhibited a pronounced reaction to this event.

Economic Data

Key economic indicators encompass the publication of GDP figures, retail sales data, industrial production statistics, inflation rates, trade balances, and jobs data. These reports follow established schedules; for example, you can use FXOpen’s economic calendar to track major events. Improvements in that data can be bullish for CAD, while a deterioration could exert negative pressure on the currency.

In September, Canada’s GDP for the second quarter of 2023 signalled stalling economic activity, remaining unchanged from the first quarter against expectations. Unsurprisingly, there was a significant bullish market reaction in the USD/CAD exchange rate.

The Impact of Oil on Canadian Dollar Trading

Canada is one of the world's largest oil producers, and its currency is closely tied to the price of crude oil. A rise in oil prices typically boosts the Canadian dollar. Conversely, falling oil prices can weaken the currency. The oil price war in March 2020 between Saudi Arabia and Russia had a direct and adverse impact on the Loonie. The CAD depreciated due to the country's significant reliance on oil exports and the reduced revenues resulting from the sharp drop in oil prices.

Unique Factors to Consider in a Canadian Dollar Forecast

In addition to the aforementioned catalysts, there are unique factors that forex traders consider when analysing the Canadian dollar buying rate today.

Proximity to the United States

Proximity to the United States is a defining factor in the performance of the CAD, which is notably influenced by the intricate economic ties with that country. These ties extend beyond trade to factors such as cross-border investments and shared financial markets. Positive developments in the US, such as robust economic growth or shifts in monetary policy, can elevate demand for Canadian exports, thereby potentially strengthening the CAD. Conversely, economic challenges in the US may disrupt trade flows between the two nations, leading to a potential weakening of the CAD.

Commodity Prices and the Canadian Dollar Trend

Apart from oil, Canada exports various other commodities, including metals and agricultural products. Fluctuations in global commodity prices can influence the CAD, as they impact Canada's export revenues and, respectively, the performance of the Canadian dollar. When commodity prices are on the upswing, there tends to be a surge of incoming capital, which positively affects CAD exchange rates.

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Trade Relations

Canada is a major player in global trade, having significant partnerships. News or events related to these agreements can significantly influence the CAD's performance.

  • USMCA (formerly NAFTA): The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement is pivotal for Canada, as a significant portion of its exports are destined for the United States. Any changes or developments in USMCA can impact the CAD's value.
  • European Union: Canada has a Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) with the European Union (EU). This trade deal promotes exports to EU countries and fosters economic cooperation.
  • Asia-Pacific: Canada's trade relations extend to Asia-Pacific nations, where it actively trades with countries like China and Japan.

The imposition of tariffs or the eruption of trade tensions can exert substantial pressure on the CAD. Tariffs can lead to reduced exports, affecting Canada's trade balance and potentially weakening the currency. Conversely, the resolution of trade disputes can lead to a stronger CAD.

Geopolitical Stability

Considering Canada's relatively robust economic position, the nation boasts a relatively elevated interest rate compared to other developed economies. Canada has also earned recognition for its prudent fiscal management, striking a harmonious balance between a government-influenced economy and a more laissez-faire approach. This characteristic becomes particularly relevant during times of worldwide economic instability. While not a reserve currency like the US dollar, the Canadian dollar is relatively stable.


To navigate the dynamic world of forex trading effectively, understanding the factors influencing the Canadian dollar's value is paramount. Among the unique features of the Loonie are its close ties to the US economy, reliance on commodities, and unique geopolitical position. Already have an idea of how to trade the CAD’s fluctuations? Open an FXOpen account and expand your journey right away.

This article represents the opinion of the Companies operating under the FXOpen brand only. It is not to be construed as an offer, solicitation, or recommendation with respect to products and services provided by the Companies operating under the FXOpen brand, nor is it to be considered financial advice.

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