The Bank of Canada is maintaining its target for the overnight rate at .5 per cent. The rate has remained the same since July 2015.
As the BoC expected in its Monetary Policy Report that was released in October, recent economic data suggests that global economic conditions have strengthened. There is still plenty of uncertainty, however, and that uncertainty has been continuing to undermine business confidence and dampen investment in Canada’s major trading partners. The presidential election in the U.S. has had an effect as well; there has been a rapid increase in global bond yields, partly reflecting market anticipation of fiscal expansion in a US economy that is near full capacity. Canadian yields have risen significantly in this context.
In Canada, the dynamics of growth are largely as the Bank anticipated. Following a very weak first half of 2016, growth in the third quarter rebounded strongly, but more moderate growth is anticipated in the fourth quarter. Consumption growth was robust in the third quarter, supported by the new Canada Child Benefit, while the effects of federal infrastructure spending are not yet evident in the GDP data. Meanwhile, business investment and non-energy goods exports continue to disappoint. There have been ongoing gains in employment, but a significant amount of economic slack remains in Canada, in contrast to the United States. While household imbalances continue to rise, these will be mitigated over time by announced changes to housing finance rules.
Total CPI inflation has picked up in recent months but is slightly below expectations, largely because of lower food prices. Core inflation is close to 2 per cent because the effect of persistent economic slack is still being offset by that of past exchange rate depreciation, although the latter effect is dissipating.
Overall, the Bank’s Governing Council judges that the current stance of monetary policy remains appropriate. Therefore, the target for the overnight rate remains at .5 per cent, with the Bank Rate correspondingly .75 per cent and the deposit rate .25 per cent.
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