The Bank of Canada maintained its target for the overnight rate at 1.50 per cent this morning.
In the statement accompanying the decision, the Bank noted that the Canadian economy is evolving in line with its projections and that real GDP growth is expected to slow in the third quarter due to fluctuations in energy production and exports. Inflation is anticipated to come down from the 7-year high of 3 per cent rate observed in July, falling back to 2 per cent in early 2019. The Bank further noted that housing markets are beginning to stabilize following the implementation of the mortgage stress test. Overall, the Bank’s assessment is that higher interest rates will be warranted to achieve the 2 per cent inflation target, but policymakers are closely monitoring NAFTA negotiations and their impact on the inflation outlook.
With the threat of significant trade disruption looming from NAFTA negotiations, the Bank chose to pause its rate tightening cycle. However, strong economic growth over the past year has pushed the Canadian economy beyond its full-employment level, creating upward pressure on inflation. Rising inflation and an economy operating at capacity means that the Bank of Canada will continue on its rate tightening path, likely at it next meeting in October with an ultimate goal of the overnight rate returning to between 3 and 3.5 per cent over the next two years.