Two Strong Employment Reports Create Negative Momentum for USD/CAD

Posted On 06 Feb 2015
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Currency market participants needed to absorb two important employment reports on Friday both from North America. While the U.S. report was expected to show a continuation of a strong rebound, the Canadian report was barely expected to show any gains. Boy was the market surprised.

Canada employment rose 35.4k in January, much better than expected relative to the mean expectation of 5K jobs. This compares to the 11.3k drop in December. Full time jobs fell 11.8k after the 35.0k gain in December. Part time jobs rebounded 47.2k after the 46.3k drop in December. The unemployment rate fell to 6.6% in January from 6.7% in December. The participation rate held steady at 65.7%.

Down to the south, the U.S. nonfarm payrolls increased 257k in January versus a revised higher to 329k in December and November’s 423k. The upward revisions were a function of the annual benchmarking. Expectation were for a 230K climb in January. The 3-month average payroll gain is 336k, the largest since 1997. The unemployment rate rose to 5.7% after falling to 5.6% in December. Average hourly earnings rebounded a hefty 0.5% after the 0.2% December decline. It’s the largest monthly gain since 2008. The data in the U.S. clearly much better than expected and initially put upward pressure on Treasury rates.

Although the dollar gained again most major currencies the Canadian dollar held its own and could be at a pivot point with the potential for the USD/CAD to decline. Resistance is seen near 1.2740, while support is seen near 1.24.

Momentum on the USD/CAD currency pair has turned negative as the MACD (moving average convergence divergence) index generated a sell signal. This occurs as the spread (the 12-day moving average minus the 26-day moving average) crosses below the 9-day moving average of the spread. The index moved from positive to negative territory confirming the sell signal.

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