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Canadian Dollar Shows It Has Swagger as Supercyclists Hop Aboard

(Bloomberg) — Already one of the best performing major currencies this year, Canada’s dollar looks poised to become a market darling for all of 2021.At the heart of the loonie’s broad gains are demand for the country’s abundant natural resources, attractive yields and proximity to the U.S., where vaccination rollouts and infrastructure spending are seen helping Canada’s biggest export market regain its footing.Against that reflation-trade backdrop and relative calm in equity markets, the Bank of Canada signaled it will slow quantitative easing. That’s fueled the currency’s largest quarterly return in years against two haven counterparts: the yen and Swiss franc. Even versus the dollar, which defied dour forecasts to post its best quarter in a year, the loonie rose more than 1%, and it’s just behind the British pound for the title of best major currency so far this year.“The Canadian recovery will be impressive in the second half, with growth projections revised up,” said John Velis, a strategist at BNY Mellon, who is long the loonie versus the dollar. “Furthermore, the global reopening will help commodities as we get deeper into the year and we’ll see commodity- and oil-related FX do well.”The loonie’s first-quarter performance is unlikely to be just a flash in the pan. With economies of Group-of-20 nations forecast to rebound this year, U.S. and Canada rank in the top five, seen expanding 5.7% and 5.4%, respectively, according to Bloomberg data. As growth gains traction and major central banks remain accommodative for the foreseeable future, rising demand for commodities could support the currency well into next year.While commodity prices and the loonie don’t move in lockstep, the 21-day correlation between the Bloomberg Commodity Index and Deutsche Bank AG’s trade-weighted index for the Canadian dollar is above 70% and near the highs seen in the past five years. U.S. President Joe Biden’s “green” infrastructure packages should further underpin prices with some analysts touting an impending commodity supercycle.Philippe Jauer, a money manager at Amundi Asset Management, says the Biden spending package will be bullish for the Canadian dollar and other resource-linked currencies. The administration is moving “swiftly, massively and this is what the market is looking at for now,” he said, adding that Canada’s export market stands to benefit.Jauer is following a butterfly strategy that comprises long bets on the dollar, commodity-linked currencies and a short on the euro. He favors the Canadian dollar versus most other G-10 currencies except the greenback.The combination of solid growth and subdued inflation is particularly appealing to fixed-income managers. Headline consumer-price inflation in Canada is running about 1.1% per year — below a 1.7% reading in the U.S. The five-year breakeven inflation rate for Canada, a gauge of…

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