Dollar surges against loonie on tariff announcement, euro gains

Tue Apr 25, 2017 3:43pm EDT
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By Sam Forgione

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The U.S. dollar surged against its Canadian counterpart on Tuesday after the United States imposed duties on Canadian softwood, while the euro hit a multi-month high on relief over the French election and the possibility of more hawkish European Central Bank policy in June.

The greenback hit C$1.3626 CAD=D4, its highest level against the loonie since late Feb. 2016. U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said Monday the United States will impose preliminary anti-subsidy duties averaging 20 percent on imports of softwood lumber.

The move, which affects some $5.66 billion worth of imports of the construction material, set a tense tone as the two countries and Mexico prepare to renegotiate the 23-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement.

"It reflects what is going to happen with the trade relationships for the U.S. and its neighbor," said Sireen Harajli, FX strategist at Mizuho in New York. "This is a negative reflection on that trade relationship."

The euro hit $1.0950 EUR=, its highest level against the dollar in five and a half months, as traders digested centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron's victory in the first round of France's presidential election on Sunday.

"What we’re seeing is the beginning of a longer march" higher in the euro in response to Macron's first-round victory, said Shahab Jalinoos, global head of FX strategy at Credit Suisse in New York.

In addition, three sources on and close to the ECB's Governing Council told Reuters that with the fading of the threat of a run-off between two eurosceptic candidates in France, and with the economy on its best run in years, many rate setters see scope for sending a small signal in June towards reducing monetary stimulus.

Harajli of Mizuho said more hawkish ECB policy would drive interest rates higher in Europe, which would likely boost the euro.   Continued...

FILE PHOTO: Canadian Loonies, otherwise known as a one dollar coin, are displayed on top of an American currency in this posed photograph in Toronto, October 10, 2008. REUTERS/Mark Blinch