Omers Shorting Canada Dollar It Sees at 85 U.S. Cents in 2014

The Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System, a pension fund manager in Canada’s most populous province, said it’s shorting the Canadian dollar on the view the currency will fall to 85 U.S. cents, or C$1.176 per U.S. dollar, this year.

“We have a view that the Canadian dollar is vulnerable,” James Donegan, chief executive officer of Omers’ Capital Markets unit, said in a press conference today. “We think there’s more downside. It wouldn’t surprise me if we saw 85 cents on the dollar at some point this year.”

The currency hedge has been in place for about six months as the Toronto-based fund manager predicts the Canadian economy may underperform its U.S. counterpart this year, Donegan said.

Omers has an active short position on the loonie, as the Canadian dollar is known for the image of the aquatic bird on the C$1 coin, and long positions on the U.S. currency in its capital markets portfolio.

“In a good upbeat scenario we thought the U.S. dollar would outperform Canada and in a downbeat scenario the Canadian dollar in and of itself is probably more vulnerable to the downside,” Donegan said. “So we thought that was a pretty skewed probability.”

Omers, which manages C$65.1 billion in pension assets for 440,000 members, today reported a 2013 return of 6.5 percent.