The Canadian dollar strengthened against its U.S. counterpart on Friday, clawing back much of this week's decline, as an increase in investor risk appetite offset domestic data showing a surprise decline in retail sales. The move higher for the Canadian currency came as the U.S. dollar gave back some of its recent rally against a basket of major currencies and the S&P 500 notched an intraday record high for the first time in two years. Canada is a major producer of commodities, such as oil, so the loonie tends to be sensitive to shifts in risk appetite.
The Canadian dollar was little changed against its U.S. counterpart on Thursday as oil rallied and investors turned attention to domestic retail sales data, with the currency steadying after it hit a five-week low the day before. On Wednesday, the currency touched its weakest intraday level since Dec. 13 at 1.3541. "The Canadian dollar needed a lifeline from the oil market and finally oil found a bid," said Adam Button, chief currency analyst at ForexLive.
The commodity-linked Canadian dollar weakened to a five-week low against its U.S. counterpart on Wednesday as an investor rethink of Federal Reserve interest rate cut prospects contributed to a sell off in riskier assets. Canadian yields for shorter-dated bonds have matched the move higher in U.S. Treasury yields which "suggests to us that it is deteriorating risk conditions in the driving seat for the loonie today," Kyle Chapman, FX markets analyst at Ballinger & Co in London, said in a note. Canada is a major producer of commodities, including oil, so the currency tends to be sensitive to shifts in investor sentiment.