Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Bank of Canada keeps interest rates on hold

“The Bank said it expects the pace of growth going forward to moderate by more than initially thought, but the forecast for growth this year has actually been raised slightly,” said CREA Chief Economist Gregory Klump. “That reflects a weaker than previously expected growth profile for the first half of 2012, followed by an acceleration in the second half of the year.”

“The Bank reiterated that its outlook remains subject to downside risks from the sovereign debt issue in Europe. Recent credit-rating downgrades to much of the euro zone point to potential contagion by way of a drop in financial market liquidity,” he added. “The bottom line is that the Bank rate is not going to be going up anytime soon, and we may see rates lowered should downside risks materialize.”

The Bank noted that “while the economy appears to be operating with less slack than previously assumed, it is only anticipated to return to full capacity by the third quarter of 2013, one quarter earlier than was expected in October.” Overall, inflation expectations remain “well-anchored.”

A number of financial institutions have recently dropped their five-year lending rates to a record low of 2.99 per cent. This is down considerably from the advertised five-year rate of 5.29 per cent when the Bank last met on December 6th, 2011.

The Bank will make its next scheduled rate announcement on March 8th, 2012.

Copyright CREA reprinted with permission

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