The Bank of Canada will announce its April interest rate decision next week but a survey shows little expectation that it will make a change.

Nine out of 10 economists including those from TD, Laurentian, the Conference Board of Canada and University of Manitoba – expect that the BoC will leave rates unchanged at 1.75%.

“All combined, the global slowdown and specific factors weighing down on Canadians households and the oil sector are justifying to keep the overnight rate at current level,” said Sebasiten Lavoie, chief economist at Laurentian Bank Securities.

However, the poll by Finder.com found that Atif Kubursi of Economic Research Ltd. and McMaster University, is predicting a rate cut, citing “sluggish growth and poor export performance.”

While the others are ruling out a cut in April, four now believe Governor Poloz could announce one in July and longer term we could see a 1.15% rate within the current cycle.

Recession fears
While a rate hold and cut will be good news for the housing market, the underlying reasons for economists making their predictions is more concerning.

Canada is either somewhat or very likely to go into recession in the next 12 months, according to half of the panellists.

“Uncertainty remains elevated, and recent trends (January notwithstanding) have been quite weak – domestic demand contracted over the latter half of 2018. Retail sales remain soft, as do housing markets,” said Brian DePratto, senior economist at TD Economics.

The panel expects the CMHC First Home Buyers Incentive to have either marginal or little to no impact on housing affordability but they believe that property prices will stabilise by the end of the year. Montreal house prices are expected to increase the most

 

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