Bank of Canada Drops "Cautious" Language As Economy Outperforms Expectations

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"I think we can fairly safely predict that there will be a rate hike next time in July", said Steve Ambler, the David Dodge chair in monetary policy at the C.D. Howe Institute, in a phone interview.

As for the interpretation of "gradual", Ambler said it means the BoC is on a path of moving toward the neutral rate, which it estimated to be between 2.5 and 3.5 percent, by hiking three to four times a year at most (0.75 to 1 percent per year).

Gone is any reference to the central bank needing to be "cautious" about raising interest rates: policy makers now say they will take a "gradual" approach.

Policymakers meanwhile will continue to "assess the economy's sensitivity to interest rate movements".

Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz generally does not broadcast future rate moves with explicit forward guidance.

"This is a clear warning shot that a July rate hike is solid possibility".

Instead, the bank is offering new, more assertive language about where rates are headed now that the economy is running near full capacity.

National Bank of Canada similarly concluded that the statement "kicked wide open the door for a July rate hike".

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Despite the impact of stricter mortgage rules, the BoC expects housing activity to pick up and that "consumption will continue to contribute importantly to growth in 2018". But Bank of Nova Scotia economist Derek Holt said the latest statement suggests the central bank has more confidence in its forecast of a strengthening economy and that it is "not making a mistake by tightening monetary policy".

But given the deadlock in negotiations, with a number of key sticking points and a "no Nafta is better than a bad deal" rhetoric from Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the chance of an agreement being made over the next few days or possibly weeks appears to have diminished.

Macdonald also said she'll be watching what happens with the housing market, which she said the Bank of Canada expects to rebound over the rest of this year.

Canada's currency strengthened against the US dollar as the Bank of Canada gave a positive view of the economy in its policy update on Wednesday.

No changes in interest rates were expected on May 30, but now, many expect the bank to raise rates to 1.5 percent in July.

The Bank of Canada kept interest rates on hold.

Global economic activity remains in line with the Bank of Canada's expectations as published in April's forecast.

Canada's central bank said Canadian economic activity in the first quarter of the year was "a little stronger than projected" but maintains its forecast for 2% growth throughout 2018. "Core measures of inflation remain near 2 per cent, consistent with an economy operating close to potential".

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