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The Canadian dollar (CAD) is the official currency of Canada and one of the top-held reserve currencies in the world. As a member of the British Commonwealth, the country used the Canadian pound as its monetary unit after 1841, but the CAD was introduced as its official currency in 1858.
The Canadian dollar has typically had a lower value compared to the euro (EUR, €) - the second most frequently traded currency in the world. The euro was adopted by 11 EU member countries in 1999, but it was only used in electronic transactions until January 2002, when hard currency official entered circulation. Since then, the eurozone has expanded to include 19 members, with Lithuania the latest entrant in January 2015. Since 2002, the dollar-to-euro exchange rate (CAD to EUR) has ranged between €0.5962 and €0.8124, with the average exchange rate of €0.6899.
Since 2014, the CAD has gained slightly in value against the euro, due largely to the eurozone’s continued economic weakness and ongoing stability in the Canadian economy. In January 2015, when the European Central Bank (ECB) announced its plan to purchase €60 billion worth of assets each month beginning in March, the euro’s value dropped against most major world currencies, including the CAD.
From 2002, when the euro officially launched as a currency, through 2009, CAD to EUR transactions traded in a fairly consistent range, with the Canadian dollar’s conversion rate typically ranging from €0.65 to €0.70. Towards the end of this period, the eurozone economy was seen as a safe alternative to the US economy, which was struggling with large amounts of debt and the beginnings of a subprime mortgage crisis, which was a major contributor to tipping the country into recession. Throughout 2007 and 2008, the eurozone remained more resilient than the American economy, and this perceived strength was reflected in the euro’s value against most of the world’s major currencies.
By 2009, however, it had become obvious to investors that the recession and the subprime mortgage meltdown would have a global effect. As the recession reached Europe, the European Central Bank acted, increasing the prime rate to 1.5%; this caused the euro’s value to sink, and the Canadian dollar to rise in comparison. By the first quarter of 2010, the CAD had climbed above the €0.70 mark and was trading at a rate of €0.7184. The CAD continued to climb, and finished the year at a conversion rate of CAD to EUR €0.7496.
The eurozone had several weak spots entering 2011. The Greek debt crisis weighed on the region’s economy, growth was sluggish, consumer spending was down, and most member countries’ unemployment rates were at high levels. The euro continued its slow slide against most major currencies, and the CAD continued to trade in a range above €0.70. The CAD finally reached its peak value against the euro in August 2012, when the CAD:EUR exchange rate climbed to €0.8124.
Canada’s economy, which is heavily exposed to the US, was hampered by a slow recovery from the global recession. Public debt, an aging workforce and higher unemployment levels all contributed to a moderate outlook for the Canadian economy, with most analysts predicting that full employment wouldn’t return until 2016 at the earliest.
Although eurozone governments continued to struggle with a number of factors throughout 2013 and 2014 - including ongoing economic weakness, rising debt levels, an unstable political situation in Ukraine and the Greek debt restructuring - the CAD had started to slip against the euro. In 2014, the euro began to stabilize as the ECB took steps to shore up the regional economy. Entering 2015, although Canada’s economy is expected to benefit from continued global demand for commodities and energy products, this is expected to be offset by a shrinking workforce. Forecasts for the CAD to EUR exchange rate predict a trading range similar to how the two currencies have traded in recent history, with the Canadian dollar slated to vary between €0.65 and €0.70.
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