Bank of Canada Interest Rate Announcement (April 12, 2023)
James Orlando, CFA, Director & Senior Economist | 416-413-3180
Date Published: April 12, 2023
Bank of Canada maintains pause, cautions on cyclical strength
- The Bank of Canada maintained the overnight rate at 4.5%, while stating that it will continue with Quantitative Tightening (QT).
- Regarding the recent resurgence in economic momentum, the report stated, "economic growth in the first quarter looks to be stronger than was projected in January, with a bounce in exports and solid consumption growth. While the Bank’s Business Outlook Survey suggests acute labour shortages are starting to ease, wage growth is still elevated relative to productivity growth. Strong population gains are adding to labour supply and supporting employment growth while also boosting aggregate consumption."
- On rising prices, it stated that "inflation in many countries is easing in the face of lower energy prices, normalizing global supply chains, and tighter monetary policy. At the same time, labour markets remain tight and measures of core inflation in many advanced economies suggest persistent price pressures, especially for services."
- On the future path of policy, the Bank "continues to assess whether monetary policy is sufficiently restrictive to relieve price pressures and remains prepared to raise the policy rate further if needed to return inflation to the 2% target."
- The BoC held the line in today's announcement. While it acknowledged that the economy is exhibiting cyclical strength as evidenced by strong employment gains and a bounce-back in consumer spending, it appears confident that growth is set to slow in the coming months. This slowdown, though delayed, has kept the faith that inflation will continue to decelerate, hitting 3% year-on-year this summer.
- Over the last couple of weeks, the timing of rate cuts has been pushed out, with markets now expecting the first cut to occur in December (from September). This reflects the economy's cyclical rebound, which will keep underlying cyclical inflationary pressures (supercore) elevated through this year. As the BoC acknowledged, this could make "getting inflation the rest of the way back to 2%" more difficult. Given this backdrop, we think the best policy for the BoC is to keep rates stable until cyclical inflation dynamics turn decisively lower.
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