The Bank of Canada announced this morning that it is raising its target for the overnight rate by 25 basis points to 1 per cent. In the press release accompanying the decision, the Bank noted that recent economic data have been stronger than expected but growth is forecast to moderate in the second half of the year.
On inflation, the Bank cited some excess capacity and temporary price shocks as factors keeping inflation below its 2 per cent target. Importantly, the Bank mentioned it will be paying particular attention to the evolution of the economy’s potential growth rate (meaning the economy’s estimated long-run growth rate) as well as to labour market conditions and the economy’s sensitivity to higher interest rates.
The Bank has now removed the stimulus it injected into the Canadian economy in 2015 to offset the impact of falling oil prices. With the economy expanding at a 3.5 per cent rate over the past year, that stimulus is clearly no longer required. The Bank seems to be more concerned about the potential for higher future inflation due to an over-heated economy than on the actual very low inflation observed in recent months. That leaves the door open for further rate increases should economic growth remain robust.