Bank of Canada maintains overnight rate target at 1 ¾ per cent

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media Relations
613-782-8782
Ottawa, Ontario

April 24, 2019

Available as: PDF

The Bank of Canada today maintained its target for the overnight rate at 1 ¾ per cent. The Bank Rate is correspondingly 2 per cent and the deposit rate is 1 ½ per cent.

Global economic growth has slowed by more than the Bank forecast in its January Monetary Policy Report (MPR). Ongoing uncertainty related to trade conflicts has undermined business sentiment and activity, contributing to a synchronous slowdown across many countries. In response, many central banks have signalled a slower pace of monetary policy normalization. Financial conditions and market sentiment have improved as a result, pushing up prices for oil and other commodities. 

Global economic activity is expected to pick up during 2019 and average 3 ¼ per cent over the projection period, supported by accommodative financial conditions and as a number of temporary factors weighing on growth fade. This is roughly in line with the global economy’s potential and a modest downgrade to the Bank’s January projection.

In Canada, growth during the first half of 2019 is now expected to be slower than was anticipated in January. Last year’s oil price decline and ongoing transportation constraints have curbed investment and exports in the energy sector. Investment and exports outside the energy sector, meanwhile, have been negatively affected by trade policy uncertainty and the global slowdown. Weaker-than-anticipated housing and consumption also contributed to slower growth.

The Bank expects growth to pick up, starting in the second quarter of this year. Housing activity is expected to stabilize given continued population gains, the fading effects of past housing policy changes, and improved global financial conditions. Consumption will be underpinned by strong growth in employment income. Outside of the oil and gas sector, investment will be supported by high rates of capacity utilization and exports will expand with strengthening global demand.  Meanwhile, the contribution to growth from government spending has been revised down in light of Ontario’s new budget.

Overall, the Bank projects real GDP growth of 1.2 per cent in 2019 and around 2 per cent in 2020 and 2021. This forecast implies a modest widening of the output gap, which will be absorbed over the projection period.

CPI and measures of core inflation are all close to 2 per cent. CPI inflation will likely dip in the third quarter, largely because of the dynamics of gasoline prices, before returning to about 2 per cent by year end. Taking into account the effects of the new carbon pollution charge, as well as modest excess capacity, the Bank expects inflation to remain around 2 per cent through 2020 and 2021.

Given all of these developments, Governing Council judges that an accommodative policy interest rate continues to be warranted. We will continue to evaluate the appropriate degree of monetary policy accommodation as new data arrive. In particular, we are monitoring developments in household spending, oil markets, and global trade policy to gauge the extent to which the factors weighing on growth and the inflation outlook are dissipating.

Information note

The next scheduled date for announcing the overnight rate target is May 29, 2019. The next full update of the Bank’s outlook for the economy and inflation, including risks to the projection, will be published in the MPR on July 10, 2019.

MONETARY POLICY REPORT APRIL 2019



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Bank of Canada maintains overnight rate target at 1/2 per cent

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Bank of Canada maintains overnight rate target at 1/2 per cent

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Media Relations 613-782-8782 Ottawa, Ontario 18 January 2017 Available as: PDF

 

The Bank of Canada today announced that it is maintaining its target for the overnight rate at 1/2 per cent. The Bank Rate is correspondingly 3/4 per cent and the deposit rate is 1/4 per cent.

Uncertainty about the global outlook is undiminished, particularly with respect to policies in the United States. The Bank has made initial assumptions about prospective tax policies only, resulting in a modest upward revision to its US growth outlook. Overall, the global economy is strengthening largely as expected and prices of some commodities, including oil, have risen. The rapid back-up in global bond yields, partly reflecting market anticipation of US fiscal expansion, has pulled up Canadian yields relative to the October Monetary Policy Report (MPR).

In contrast to the United States, Canada’s economy continues to operate with material excess capacity. While employment growth has remained firm, indicators still point to significant slack in the labour market. The resource sector’s adjustment to past commodity price declines appears to be largely complete, but negative wealth and income effects will persist. Meanwhile, the Canadian dollar has strengthened along with the US dollar against other currencies, exacerbating ongoing competitiveness challenges and muting the outlook for exports. Consumption is expected to remain solid, while residential investment will be tempered by previously announced changes to housing finance rules and by mortgage rates that have risen in response to higher bond yields. Federal and provincial fiscal measures are still expected to support growth in 2017.

Bearing in mind the important assumptions embedded in its forecast, the Bank projects that Canada’s real GDP will grow by 2.1 per cent in both 2017 and 2018. This implies a return to full capacity around mid-2018, in line with October’s projection.

Inflation in Canada has been lower than anticipated since October, mainly because of declines in food prices. Measures of core inflation are below 2 per cent, reflecting material excess capacity in the economy. As consumer energy prices rise and the impact of lower food prices dissipates, inflation is expected to move close to the 2 per cent target in the months ahead and remain there throughout the projection horizon while excess capacity is being absorbed.

In the context of a projection that is largely unchanged, the Bank’s Governing Council judges that the current stance of monetary policy is still appropriate and maintains the target for the overnight rate at 1/2 per cent. Governing Council will continue to assess the impact of ongoing developments, mindful of the significant uncertainties weighing on the outlook.

Information note The next scheduled date for announcing the overnight rate target is 1 March 2017. The next full update of the Bank’s outlook for the economy and inflation, including risks to the projection, will be published in the MPR on 12 April 2017.