The USD/CAD pair remains on the defensive for the third successive day on Monday, albeit lacks follow-through selling and manages to hold above last week's swing low, around the 1.3415 region. Moreover, a combination of diverging forces warrants some caution before placing aggressive bearish bets and positioning for an extension of the recent pullback from the vicinity of the monthly peak tested last Thursday.
Houthi rebels stepped up their attacks on vessels in the Red Sea and a drone attack on US forces by radical Iran-backed militant groups killed three soldiers. This raises the risk of a further escalation of tensions in the Middle East and fueled concerns over supply disruption in the region, pushing Crude Oil prices to a nearly two-month high on Monday. The commodity, however, struggles to capitalize on the move as traders opt to take some profits off the table ahead of the OPEC+ meeting on February 1. This, in turn, could undermine the commodity-linked Loonie, which, along with the underlying bullish sentiment surrounding the US Dollar (USD) should lend support to the USD/CAD pair.
Progress towards achieving the Federal Reserve's (Fed) 2% inflation target takes further tightening off the table, though market participants remain uncertain over the timing of the first rate cut. The Personal Income and Spending data released on Friday pointed to strong demand from US consumers. This, along with last week's upbeat US Q4 GDP print, suggested that the economy is still in good shape and should allow the Fed to keep interest rates higher for longer. This, along with geopolitical tensions, assists the safe-haven buck to stand tall near its highest level since December 13 touched earlier this week and might further contribute to limiting any further decline for the USD/CAD pair.
Traders might also refrain from placing aggressive directional bets and prefer to wait for the outcome of the highly-anticipated FOMC monetary policy meeting on Wednesday. Investors this week will also confront the release of important US macro data scheduled at the beginning of a new month, including the closely-watched monthly employment details or the Nonfarm Payrolls (NFP) report on Friday. This will drive the USD demand and provide some meaningful impetus to the USD/CAD pair. In the meantime, Oil price dynamics could allow traders to grab short-term opportunities on Monday in the absence of any relevant market moving economic releases either from the US or Canada.