The Bank of Canada announced this morning that it is maintaining its overnight rate at 0.5 per cent. In the press release accompanying the decision, the Bank cited that inflation and economic growth were evolving roughly in-line with expectations, though household vulnerability to economic shocks has moved higher due to high debt burdens.
The Canadian economy got off to a very strong start and will likely end up recording real GDP growth above 3 per cent for the first quarter of the year. However, much of that growth was front loaded and more recent data has been weaker. Growth is expected to slow sharply in the second quarter as a result of the wildfires in Alberta and their impact on oil production before rebounding in the third quarter and ramping up to end the year. Slower growth through the summer months will keep the Bank on the sidelines though a probable tightening of monetary policy by the US Federal Reserve as early as June may add some upward pressure to Canadian long-term interest rates.
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