The major currency pairs consolidated in a narrow range at the start of the week in a holiday-thinned trading session - with the US markets closed in observance of the Memorial Day holiday. The European and Asian equity indexes were largely unchanged - shrugging off last week's credit downgrade of Spain by Fitch Ratings. Crude oil crept up higher to trade around $74.38 while spot gold edged up marginally to $1,216.55 per ounce.
Despite the holiday-shortened week, a barrage of key economic reports is scheduled for release - particularly, the US May jobs data slated for Friday. The non-farm payrolls figure is forecast to surge by its strongest pace since 1997, printing at an increase of 508k jobs in May versus 290k jobs added in April. The unemployment rate is estimated to improve to 9.8%, easing slightly from the previous month at 9.9%.
The Canadian dollar edged up higher versus the greenback as a result of a sharply higher than forecast Q1 GDP figure. Data revealed that Canada's economy expanded at its fastest pace in since Q4 1999, up 6.1% in the first quarter versus a downwardly revised 4.9% reading in the previous quarter. Also released were the April industrial product prices, down by 0.2% and the raw materials price index, higher by 1.7%.
The robust Q1 GDP figure, its strongest in over 10-years, bodes well for the Bank of Canada to tighten monetary policy when it announces its decision on Tuesday at 9:00 AM. The BoC is anticipated to hike rates by 25-basis points to 0.5%. The Loonie has edged up in the recent week in anticipation of the BoC rate hike. If in the off-chance the BoC leaves interest rates unchanged, the Canadian dollar will likely be susceptible to a sharp sell-off versus the greenback. Also to be closely focused on will be the accompanying policy statement, in which traders will gauge the scope for future policy moves over the remainder of the year.