The Bank of Canada once again opted to maintain its target for the overnight rate at 1 per cent. In its accompanying statement, the Bank highlighted that inflation continues to move below the Bank’s 2 per cent target due to significant excess supply in the Canadian economy. It also noted that the risks to inflation appear to be to the downside, meaning it sees the risk of continued below target inflation as a more likely outcome than a rise in inflation. This, along with the Bank’s expectation of a “soft landing” in the Canadian housing market, suggest that monetary policy will remain highly accommodative.
The Bank of Canada is currently projecting that excess supply in the Canadian economy will be eliminated sometime in mid-2015. Keeping in mind that the Bank has spent the past several years pushing that date back, if the Canadian economy does accelerate as most expect in 2014, a gradual rise in short-term interest rates will follow. Importantly, an uptick in Canadian economic growth next year will most likely be the result of stronger external demand, particularly from a resurgent United States. However, stronger growth in the US economy will also put upward pressure on long-term yields, lessening some of the urgency for monetary tightening. For that reason, we expect that eventual Bank of Canada tightening will occur very slowly, beginning with a 25 to 50 basis point increase in the overnight rate in 2015.