(Adds comments by prime minister, economist’s reaction, background)
OTTAWA, Dec 16 (Reuters) - Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Wednesday that while it is a good thing that the U.S. economy is recovering enough to face higher interest rates, the weaker Canadian dollar that comes with a Fed hike brings its own challenges.
“Obviously it’s a good thing that our major trading partner, upon whom so many jobs in Canada depend, are (sic) starting to see a resurgence of their economy,” Trudeau told reporters.
“There will be opportunities for our exporters to benefit from it, but obviously we are always looking at the challenges that a lower dollar will pose to Canadian producers and to the Canadian economy in general.”
The Canadian dollar is at an 11-1/2-year low against its U.S. counterpart, partly because of a crash in the price of oil and partly because of expectations that the Bank of Canada will not be matching potential Fed rate hikes.
While Trudeau stressed the independence of the Bank of Canada in setting monetary policy, BMO Chief Economist Doug Porter said the prime minister was probably recognizing the fact that there are winners and losers from a weaker currency.
“He doesn’t want to fuel the fire by sounding like they are openly welcoming a lower currency,” Porter said.
Reporting by Randall Palmer and David Ljunggren; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Matthew Lewis