"History, real solemn history, I cannot be interested in.... I read it a little as a duty; but it tells me nothing that does not either vex or weary me. The quarrels of popes and kings, with wars and pestilences in every page; the men all so good for nothing, and hardly any women at all - it is very tiresome." Jane Austen spoken by Catherine Morland in 'Northanger Abbey'
U.S. Dollar Strength
From the early 1990's to the early 2000's, the USD/CAD was trending up and increasing Canadian import costs on a weak CAD relative to the USD (top panel of chart). After 10 years the trend reversed and for the next decade to 2013 the CAD unit was strong against the USD allowing Canadians to buy more stuff at cheaper prices.
Now the trend appears to be reversing once again with the USD on the ascendant. For the Canadian exporters who took advantage of a strong CAD and who used the FX advantage to invest in machine independence technology (IT & Robotics) as well as reducing middle management; they will probably transition well if the global slowdown is still in an early phase of a trend change (Bloomberg March 24/14 "China’s manufacturing industry weakened for a fifth straight month").
But for exporters who rely on import materials and for all Canadians who shop for imported goods, CAD depreciation is going to depress consumption, lower aggregate demand, reduce wage growth and deflate unproductive asset values at the margins as participants liquidate in order to reduce debt, repair balance sheets and try to maintain lifestyle in a rising import price environment.
As I noted this month in the updated TSX chart (March data), the Canadian commodities index is attempting a breakout to the upside.
The first 2 weekly April data points are up as well CCI).
History, Charts & Curated Readings
"Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. When change is absolute there remains no being to improve and no direction is set for possible improvement; and when experience is not retained, as among savages, infancy is perpetual. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." George Santayana Vol. I, Reason in Common Sense