The Mexican peso and the Canadian dollar are plunging.
The peso is down by 1.7% at 21.8632 per dollar, while the loonie is down by 1.4% at 1.3218 per dollar as of 1:14 p.m. ET.
On Wednesday, US Commerce Secretary nominee Wilbur Ross said at his confirmation hearing that the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with Canada and Mexico will be an early priority for his department.
“NAFTA is logically the first thing for us to deal with,” he said, according to Fox Business. “We ought to solidify relationships in the best way we can in our territory before we go off to other jurisdictions.”
He also called himself “pro-trade,” but only as long as it is “sensible trade.”
Moreover, The Global and Mail reports that “Canadian officials say the nominee for commerce secretary has indicated a formal-notification letter to open negotiations on NAFTA will be sent to Canada and Mexico within days of Friday’s presidential inauguration.”
A senior government official also told The Globe and Mail that the focus will be largely on Mexico.
Separately, the Bank of Canada held rates at 0.5% on Wednesday, writing in an accompanying statement that “uncertainty about the global outlook is undiminished, particularly with respect to policies in the United States.”
“Given the considerable uncertainty surrounding exactly what policies the incoming Trump administration will pursue south of the border, we have every sympathy with the Bank of Canada’s decision to leave interest rates unchanged at today’s policy meeting,” Paul Ashworth, chief North America economist at Capital Economics, wrote after the announcement. “Unsurprisingly, for now at least, the Bank is firmly in wait-and-see mode.”
Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz later added that “a rate cut remains on the table and it would remain on the table for as long as downside risks are still present.”