Central bank predicted to hold interest rates through 2020

TD Securities predicts that the Bank of Canada (BoC) will hold off raising interest rates through 2020 and could even cut rates this year, according to a BNN Bloomberg report.

“Near-term risks skew decisively towards easing,” said Andrew Kelvin, TD Securities’ senior rates strategist for Canada, in a note to clients last week. “If [BoC] moves in 2019, it is more likely to be a cut.”

Earlier this month, Kelvin argued that BoC would not be able to hike rates this year. However, weaker economic data has prompted him to change his outlook, he said in the note.

“We argued that there was no chance of a rate hike in 2019. Building on that point, we think that 1.75% will mark the top of the tightening cycle with no change in policy expected for 2020 either,” Kelvin said. “Following the sharp slowdown in economic activity last quarter, we no longer see a plausible path back to full employment within the next two years.”

A number of issues contributing to slower growth could trigger a rate cut, including declining consumer spending and the struggling oil patch, according to Kelvin.

“[BoC] had been counting on a rebound in energy production to lift growth well above its trend rate next quarter; however, oil production is increasing at a slower-than-expected pace,” Kelvin said. “If final domestic demand growth remains near-zero, we don’t see a likely way for the bank to avoid multiple rate cuts.”

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