If you’ve been following FX rates for a while, you will remember that the USD/CAD has been very steady for the last 15 years or so — normally around 1.05 with a few spikes into the 20’s and 30’s. The current rate at this moment is 1.4385. It’s the largest spread in at least 12 years. That’s 1.4385 Canadian Dollars (CAD) for every U.S. Dollar (USD).
The pictured bottle of pepper is roughly $13.22 (USD).
This isn’t limited to Canada, either. A global crisis is unfolding, as you will see in the coming posts.
It was just yesterday when we documented the continuing slide in the loonie, which is suffering mightily in the face of oil’s inexorable decline.
As regular readers are no doubt acutely aware, Canada is struggling through a dramatic economic adjustment, especially in Alberta, the heart of the country’s oil patch. Amid the ongoing crude carnage the province has seen soaring property crime, rising food bank usage and, sadly, elevated suicide rates, as Albertans struggle to comprehend how things up north could have gone south (so to speak) so quickly.
The plunging loonie “can only serve to worsen the death of the ‘Canadian Dream'” we said on Tuesday.
As it turns out, we were right.
The currency’s decline is having a pronounced effect on Canadians’ grocery bills.
As Bloomberg reminds us, Canada imports around 80% of its fresh fruits and vegetables. When the loonie slides, prices for those goods soar. “With lower-income households tending to spend a larger portion of income on food, this side effect of a soft currency brings them the most acute stress” Bloomberg continues.
Of course with the layoffs piling up, you can expect more households to fall into the “lower-income” category where they will have to fight to afford things like $3 cucumbers, $8 cauliflower, and $15 Frosted Flakes.
As Bloomberg notes, James Price, director of Capital Markets Products at Richardson GMP, recently joked during an interview on BloombergTV Canada that “we’re going to be paying a buck a banana pretty soon.”
If you thought we were being hyperbolic when we suggested that if oil prices don’t rise soon, Canadians may well eat themselves to death, consider the following from Diana Bronson, the executive director of Food Secure Canada:“Lower- and middle-class people — many who can’t find a job that will pay them enough to ensure that they can afford a healthy diet for their families” — also feel the pinch of rising food prices”
“The wrong kind of food is cheap, and the right kind of food is still expensive.”
Full article: Canadians Panic As Food Prices Soar On Collapsing Currency (Zero Hedge)