The Canadian and US dollars: A close, complementary relationship.
Forecasting the CAD > USD exchange rate
Since the 2016 election, the Canadian dollar has strengthened against the dollar in response to President-Elect Donald Trump’s comments that the US dollar is “too strong.” Experts advice bracing for more volatility as the president eventually discusses with the public where he stands on policy.
The Canadian dollar and exchange rates
When exchanging Canadian dollars (CAD) for US dollars (USD), you’ll want to pay close attention to the exchange rate offered by your exchange service or bank.
Most advertise the mid-market rate — or the mid-point between the buy and sell prices of two currencies on the global market. But when it comes time to exchange your Canadian dollars, the provider will have marked up the exchange rate — and pocketed the difference.
To save on your next exchange, use a provider with flat or $0 fees, plus a rate that’s close to the mid-market rate.
Exchange rate history: 1842–World War II
Since Canada first introduced its currency in 1841, the Canadian dollar (CAD) has enjoyed a close connection to the US dollar (USD). Increasing trade relations between the two countries caused many Canadians to wish its dollar would assimilate with the US dollar. However, London’s imperial authorities preferred that the British pound sterling remain.
To compromise, Canada’s Legislative Council and Assembly of the Province introduced the gold standard, and the Canadian dollar became aligned with US currency. Today, the Canadian dollar is the seventh most traded currency in the global market. It is considered the commodity currency, thanks to Canada’s significant exports of raw materials.
An estimated 85% of all currency trades include the US dollar, which is held by nearly every central bank in the world. In existence since the US Constitution, the US dollar gained its global dominance in after World War II, when the US used its solid economic standing to assist European nations recovering from the war. The US dollar continues to heavily influence the economy of Canada.
US dollar is historically strong against the Canadian dollar
Canada and the United States have collaborated economically for decades, and our dollar’s relationship with the Canadian dollar is among the most important in the world. Both are a part of the free market supply and demand, but the US dollar almost always holds more value than the Canadian dollar.
The Canadian dollar surpassed the US dollar in 1976, as the price of oil began its ascent, but was unable to repeat that position until 2007, with the onset of the subprime mortgage crises. In just nine months, the rate of exchange for Canadian dollars to US dollars rose by over 21%, peaking in November at 1 CAD = 0.96 USD.
As the US economy struggled over the next two years, the Canadian dollar traded against the US dollar at a premium price, staying between $0.97 and $1.02 from 2009 to 2012. The US dollar began to recover in 2013, causing the Canadian dollar to drop below its value. It hasn’t yet fully improved.
Did you know?
The CAD/USD currency pair is often referred to by forex traders as trading the “loonie” or “the funds.” It’s one of seven major currency pairs that include the US dollar.
US dollar fluctuates against a weaker Canadian dollar
While the exchange rate has fluctuated over the last 50 years, the Canadian dollar is typically valued at less than the US dollar. It has gone as low as $0.620 and as high as $1.085. Such a large variation is rare, however, with the average price over the last five years at $0.853.
The financial relationship between Canada and the United States is close, causing the Canadian dollar to react strongly to even small tremors in the US economy. Before the major financial crises of 2008, the US economy faltered from a technological crash, resulting in a rise of the Canadian dollar. The conversion rate was $0.761 at the end of 2003, moving upward until it hit $0.90 in May 2006 — the highest it had reached up to that time.
Slowly recovering since, the US economy in 2014 again surpassed all of the major currencies in value, a feat it hadn’t accomplished since 2000.