The Canadian dollar has slight gains on Friday, erasing the losses seen on Thursday. Currently, USD/CAD is trading at 1.3018, down 0.18% on the day. On the release front, Canada will publish GDP, which is released each month. The July release is expected to show a weak gain of 0.1%. In the U.S, the focus is on consumer reports. Personal Spending is expected to edge lower to 0.3%, while UoM Consumer Sentiment is expected to climb to 100.5 points. The indicator last broke through the symbolic 100 level in March. As well, the U.S releases Core PCE Price Index, the preferred inflation indicator of the Federal Reserve, with an estimate of 0.3%.
The next rate meeting for the Bank of Canada is not until late October, but the bank is already under strong pressure to raise rates. The Federal Reserve raised rates on Wednesday and another rate hike is expected in December, which would be the fourth hike in 2018. On Thursday, BoC head Stephen Poloz said that the bank will continue to raise rates gradually and that a key priority for the BoC would be preventing inflation from gaining momentum. The BoC has raised rates some four times since July 2017, but has shown some hesitancy to raise rates due to trade war tensions, as Canadian and U.S negotiators have yet to agree on a new NAFTA accord.
As widely expected, the Federal Reserve pressed that rate trigger for the third time this year, raising the benchmark rate by a quarter-point, to a range of 2 percent to 2.25 percent. The Fed intends to continue gradually raising rates, with another rate hike expected in December and three hikes in 2019. What was of more interest to investors was the rate statement, in which the Fed removed the word ‘accommodative’ in the statement, which means that the Fed now considers monetary policy to be neutral. Fed Chair Jerome Powell, in a bid to keep markets calm, stated in a follow-up press conference that removing accommodative language in the statement did not reflect a change in policy. Still, the markets were upbeat after the Fed meeting and the U.S dollar has responded with gains against the Canadian dollar on Thursday.