Foreign exchange dealers across the country were suffering an estimated $1.3 billion loss in cash after a currency collapse in October that forced banks to halt all transactions.
In the wake of the global financial crisis, foreign exchange transactions were frozen in Canada for several months, and traders were forced to wait for the government to announce a $50 billion bailout of Canadian banks.
The government eventually announced that the bailout had been approved, but the financial market for Canadian foreign currency is still highly sensitive.
At the time, many of the Canadian banks were struggling financially after the Canadian dollar plunged to a record low against the US dollar in late 2013.
As the Canadian currency fell to an all-time low against US dollars, the banks’ cash reserves dwindled, leading to a financial crisis for many of them.
According to the Canadian Financial Accountability Office, the foreign exchange reserves for Canadian banks fell from $5.2 billion in mid-October to $3.3 million at the end of December.
The loss of that much cash would make the banks unable to pay back loans, which could have impacted their creditworthiness.
“In our view, it’s really, really important that we have an honest conversation with foreign exchange market participants about what’s going on,” said David Fagan, president and CEO of the Bank of Montreal, who said the bank’s foreign exchange trading operations are currently at risk.
“We have to understand what we’re dealing with here.
We have to make a decision about what is good for our bank and our country.”
Fagan said the banks that are not doing so well right now have a “critical” need for capital.
“What we need to do is understand what the market is going to be like in six to 12 months,” he said.
“The reason is that our foreign exchange assets, which have been at $50 trillion, have been declining, so our foreign currency assets have to be held in reserve.”
So when we have a crisis, you have to have an ability to take that cash out of the market.
It’s really important to understand that.
“Canada’s foreign currency markets have been under severe stress in recent years.
Foreign exchange has been banned in some Canadian provinces and it’s not possible to buy or sell foreign currency on the Canadian exchange market without an authorized foreign exchange dealer.”
This is one of the biggest risks that we’re facing in our foreign markets, and it is going on because of a lack of liquidity in foreign exchange markets,” Fagan said.
He said Canada’s foreign currencies are now under severe pressure, with the loss of $1 billion in cash and $2 billion worth of Canadian assets being the worst case scenario.
In fact, Fagan told CBC News that foreign exchange prices in the Canadian capital markets have plunged by more than 90 per cent since the crisis began.
The losses to foreign exchange traders could have been even worse had the financial crisis not hit in early 2013.
According the Fagan’s, the collapse in the price of Canadian dollars triggered a spike in international money flows into Canada and led to a huge spike in foreign currency demand.
In December of 2013, the Canadian government announced that it was granting a $250 million bailout of the country’s banks.
But the financial markets for Canadian dollars were severely undervalued.
That created an opening for the banks to dump their cash and buy Canadian dollars from the market, which caused them to be more exposed to a collapse in foreign currencies.”
You had banks like the Bank for International Settlements and the Canadian central bank that were willing to do business with foreign banks and foreign banks were willing be willing to take the risk of depositing money into their accounts,” Fidan said.
Foreign exchange dealers in Canada are in desperate need of cash, which can be hard to come by because of the high costs of borrowing, Faggans said.
As the financial system was struggling, many foreign currency trading companies were forced into bankruptcy.
As a result, the loss in foreign money flows for the Canadian economy and the currency markets are hurting the banking sector as a whole.
In October of 2013 alone, the Bank was forced to make $4.3 trillion in capital expenditures, with $2.3 to $2,923 billion coming from foreign exchange deals.
That’s when the government announced the bailouts, which included a $25 billion loan for Canadian-based foreign exchange companies.
The government also announced that a new capital-raising program would be implemented in late 2015.
The $1 trillion capital-building program was to be financed with $3 billion from the bank, and the government also pledged $100 million for the development of the nation’s new central bank, which will be the lender of last resort for Canada’s international financial institutions.
The new central-bank initiative was set to be launched in the second half of the year, but it’s now scheduled to be completed in December.