Calculation Methodology for Foreign Exchange Rates Published by the Bank of Canada
This document describes the selection criteria, calculation methodology and publishing process for the exchange rates, which are published by the Bank of Canada once a day by 16:30 Eastern Time (ET). FX rates are published in the form of a single indicative rate per currency pair, representing a daily average rate for that currency against the Canadian dollar. As of 1 May 2017, the Bank no longer publishes updated data for exchange rates published under previous methodologies, including daily noon and closing rates as well as high and low FX rates. Past data, however, remain archived on the Bank’s website.
Many alternative sources of exchange rates are publicly and commercially available, including from multiple trading platforms, Internet sources and data vendors. These alternative data sources may provide exchange rates for currencies not published by the Bank of Canada as well as calculation methodologies that are different from the one described in this document.
Bank of Canada exchange rates are indicative rates only, derived from aggregated price quotes from financial institutions. As such, they do not necessarily reflect the rates at which actual market transactions have been or could be conducted. They may differ from the rates provided by financial institutions and other market sources. Bank of Canada exchange rates are released for statistical, analytical and informational purposes only and are not intended to be used as the benchmark rate for executing FX trades. The Bank of Canada does not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of these exchange rates.
Exchange rate types
All FX rates are published as the number of Canadian dollars required to buy one unit of the foreign currency and will be calculated from indicative nominal rates for each foreign currency directly against the Canadian dollar. These indicative rates are the mid-market quotes supplied by the data vendor used by the Bank (see below). The Bank does not publish noon and closing rates or high and low FX rates. It will, however, publish monthly and annual averages, as well as rates for the Canadian-dollar effective exchange rate index (CERI).
The Bank publishes exchange rates that reflect the vast majority of FX transactions conducted against the Canadian dollar. Their selection reflects the combination of the top 20 currencies by trading volume (based on the Bank for International Settlements triennial FX turnover survey) and those of Canada’s top 20 trading partners (based on Statistics Canada’s International Merchandise Trade Database).
The list of currencies that meet these criteria is shown in the Appendix. It will be reviewed every three years and updated to reflect currencies satisfying the criteria above based on the latest data available.
If the name of a currency changes, this will be reflected in the labelling of the exchange rate, effective on the date of the name change. If a currency ceases to exist, subsequent entries for its exchange rate will be shown as a blank, effective as of the date the currency ceases to exist. No additional currencies will be added to the Bank’s list of exchange rates to replace the deleted currency until the regularly scheduled triennial review.
The data source for calculating each of these exchange rates is notional exchange rate quotes for each currency pair (Canadian dollar against the foreign currency) as supplied by Thomson Reuters. Note that these quoted rates are indicative rates and not necessarily exchange rates associated with actual currency trades.
Indicative mid-market quotes for each currency pair are collected every minute between 8:00 and 16:00 ET. Over an eight-hour time span, this results in a total of 480 observations for each currency.
A truncated mean is then calculated for each currency pair. These 480 observations are sorted in ascending order, from the lowest to highest exchange rates. The highest 2.5 per cent of these currency rate quotes (12 observations) is deleted from the sample, as is the lowest 2.5 per cent. The average exchange rate for each currency pair is calculated as the simple (i.e., equally weighted) arithmetic average of the remaining currency quotes for that currency pair.
Because indicative, rather than transaction-based, exchange rate quotes are being used to calculate the exchange rates published by the Bank of Canada, data points should be available for every minute and for each currency in the eight-hour window. However, if there are no quotes supplied for a currency within any one-minute window, the observation for the immediately preceding one-minute window will be carried forward. Furthermore, if there are technical outages at our data source, the number of observations used for calculating the truncated mean may vary.
For Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve (or for the business day immediately before those days, if either day falls on a weekend), the calculation of the daily average exchange rate for each currency pair is based on mid-market quotes collected between 8:00 and 12:00 ET. The highest and lowest 2.5 per cent of these 240 data points are deleted from the sample before the average exchange rate is calculated.
Exchange rates are published each day that the Ottawa Head Office of the Bank of Canada is open for business. The exchange rate for each currency pair is reported on the Bank of Canada’s website by 16:30 ET.
In extraordinary market conditions or in the presence of technical issues, the publication of the Bank of Canada’s exchange rates may be delayed. If one or more rates cannot be published by 17:00 ET as a result of these issues, the missing rates will be shown as a blank for that day. Subject to availability, the missing exchange rates may be released at or before the normal 16:30 publishing time on the next business day in Ottawa.
Because data may be late or missing, users should not depend solely on the Bank of Canada for exchange rates and should have contingency sources of data available.
The precision of each exchange rate quote—the number of digits before and after the decimal point—varies between currencies. In most cases, the exchange rate is quoted to four decimal places, but it may be quoted to as many as six decimal places if the scale of the currency pair quote warrants it. Note that this quoting precision is subject to future changes should the level of exchange rates against the Canadian dollar change materially.
Data access and historical data
The Exchange Rate section of the Bank of Canada website maintains historical data going back 10 years. All rates up to 1 March 2017 are those calculated under a different methodology (i.e., old noon and closing rates). From 1 March to 28 April 2017, exchange rates calculated by both the previous and the new methodologies are available. As of 1 May 2017, only daily average rates calculated under the methodology outlined here will be published. Daily rates calculated using the current methodology are not available from 1 January to 28 February 2017. However, monthly averages for January and February 2017 calculated using the current methodology are available, and the published annual 2017 rate will be based on the current methodology only.
The Bank of Canada may occasionally revise the methodology used to calculate the exchange rates it publishes. Any such revisions will be announced beforehand on the Bank’s website and reflected in this document.
Effective date: January 1, 2020
- Australian dollar
- Brazilian real
- Chinese renminbi
- European euro
- Hong Kong dollar
- Indian rupee
- Indonesian rupiah
- Japanese yen
- Mexican peso
- New Zealand dollar
- Norwegian krone
- Peruvian new sol
- Russian ruble
- Saudi riyal
- Singapore dollar
- South African rand
- South Korean won
- Swedish krona
- Swiss franc
- Taiwanese dollar
- Turkish lira
- UK pound sterling
- US dollar