Bank of Canada holds interest rate at 1.5 per cent

The central bank kept its benchmark at 1.5 per cent, but data ‘reinforces’ view that more hikes are needed.

The Bank of Canada left its interest rate unchanged Wednesday in what could be just a brief pause along its gradual path to higher rates.

The central bank kept its benchmark at 1.5 per cent — but many experts have predicted it could introduce another increase as early as next month.

In a statement Wednesday, the Bank of Canada said more hikes should be expected thanks to encouraging numbers for business investment, exports and evidence that households are adjusting to pricier borrowing costs.

“Recent data reinforce governing council’s assessment that higher interest rates will be warranted to achieve the inflation target,” the bank said as it explained the factors around its decision.

“We will continue to take a gradual approach, guided by incoming data. In particular, the bank continues to gauge the economy’s reaction to higher interest rates.”

Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz has raised the rate four times since mid-2017 and his most-recent quarter-point increase came in July.

The bank can raise its overnight rate as a way to keep inflation from running too hot. Its target range for inflation is between one and three per cent.

The Bank of Canada said the economy has seen improvements in business investment and exports despite persistent uncertainty about the North American Free Trade Agreement and other trade policy developments. NAFTA’s year-long renegotiation, which resumes Wednesday in Washington, and other trade unknowns are under close watch by the bank.

The statement also pointed to other encouraging signs in Canada, including evidence the real estate market has begun to stabilize as households adjust to higher interest rates and new housing policies. Credit growth has moderated, the household debt-to-income ratio has started to move down and improvements in the job market and wages have helped support consumption, it said.

Heading into Wednesday’s rate decision, analysts widely expected Poloz to hold off on moving the rate — at least for now.

Last month, Poloz stressed the need to take a gradual approach to rate increases in times of uncertainty. He made the remarks during a panel appearance at the annual meeting of central bankers, academics and economists in Jackson Hole, Wyo.

“Taking a gradual, data-dependent approach to policy is an obvious form of risk management in the face of augmented uncertainty,” he said in his prepared remarks.

Related: Bank of Canada says Canadians owe $2 trillion as it mulls next rate hike

Related: Bank of Canada keeps key interest rate target on hold at 1.25 per cent

The Bank of Canada’s next rate announcement is scheduled for Oct. 24.

In its statement Wednesday, the bank also explained why it’s not going to raise the interest rate based on a recent inflation reading that showed the number had climbed to the top of its target range.

July’s unexpectedly high inflation number of three per cent was just a temporary spike in the data caused by airfare and gasoline prices, the bank said. It predicted inflation to edge back down towards two per cent in early 2019.

Core inflation, which omits volatile components such as pump prices, has remained firmly around two per cent, the bank noted.

Andy Blatchford, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

B.C. reservists gather for military communications training in Chilliwack

Canadian Army’s communication skills are used in battle as well as domestic emergencies

VIDEO: ‘Heroes’ rescue teenager trapped in vehicle in water-filled ditch in Chilliwack

Two men sprang into action, holding 17-year-old’s head out of water as they pried open door

Sarah Wark rallies to beat Prince Edward Island at Scotties Tournament of Hearts

Wark wasn’t at the top of her game, but her team did enough to improve to 6-3 overall.

GW Graham junior boys play underdog role at basketball provincials

One of two at-large seeds in the 32 team field, the Grizzlies face a tough opponent out of the gate.

Unfinished business for GW Graham basketball Grizzlies at AA provincials

GWG’s senior girls squad advanced to the final before losing in 2018 and look to win it all in 2019.

Sell regulated heroin to curb B.C.’s overdose problem: report

B.C. Centre on Substance Use points to organized crime and money-laundering as contributing factors

Galchenyuk scores in OT as Coyotes edge Canucks 3-2

Vancouver manages single point as NHL playoff chase continues

B.C. legislature moving suspended staff controversy to outside review

Whale watching, Seattle Mariners trips billed as emergency preparedness, Speaker Darryl Plecas says

Two boys saved after falling through ice in Coquitlam

RCMP say a Good Samaritan pulled the kids to safety

More people signing up for compulsory vaccines

Maple Ridge mom says public tired of hearing about measles

UPDATE: Man charged in stabbing of woman, off-duty cop outside B.C. elementary school

Manoj George, 49, is facing two counts of aggravated assault and two counts of assault with a weapon after the incident on Wednesday, Feb. 20.

Why do zebras have stripes? Perhaps to dazzle away flies

Researchers from University of Bristol look into why zebras have stripes

Poll: More voters believe Canada doing worse under Trudeau government

22 per cent believed the country is doing better and 27 per cent said things are the same

HBC shuttering Home Outfitters across Canada

North America’s oldest retailer is revamping its various stores to improve profitability

Most Read