(The Canadian Press)

Bank of Canada holds interest rate as it takes stock of trade war impacts

The move kept the central bank’s overnight rate at 1.75 per cent

The Bank of Canada is holding steady on interest rates as it gauges the extent of the damage that deepening trade conflicts have had on the domestic and global economies.

The rate decision Wednesday, which was widely expected, kept the central bank’s overnight rate at 1.75 per cent and followed a solid second-quarter rebound for the Canadian economy.

But the bank’s accompanying policy statement said some of the strength seen earlier this year will likely be temporary and it predicted economic activity to slow in the second half of 2019. It also underlined the weak spots — such as a sharp contraction in Canadian business investment that coincided with the increased trade tensions.

The intensification of the U.S.-China trade war has been a bigger drag on global economic momentum than the bank had predicted at its July 10 meeting, the statement said.

“Canada’s economy is operating close to potential and inflation is on target,” the bank said in the statement, its first public comments since the July rate announcement and monetary policy report.

“However, escalating trade conflicts and related uncertainty are taking their toll on the global and Canadian economies.”

The current level of policy stimulus remains appropriate and the bank will continue to monitor the evolving international conditions ahead of its Oct. 30 meeting, the statement said.

“As the bank works to update its projection in light of incoming data, governing council will pay particular attention to global developments and their impact on the outlook for Canadian growth and inflation,” said the bank, referring to next month’s rate decision and monetary policy report.

The bank said the unexpected strength in the second quarter was fuelled by rebounds in energy production and exports. Housing activity also bounced back faster than anticipated although the bank warned it could pile more debt onto already stretched households.

The statement noted that while wages have increased, consumer spending was unexpectedly weak in the second quarter.

Heading into the announcement, governor Stephen Poloz was widely expected to leave the rate unchanged, even as other central banks have begun to make or signal cuts.

Many analysts have predicted the bank will lower rates at its next rate announcement on Oct. 30, mostly due to expanding trade risks and the deteriorating global economy.

On Thursday, Bank of Canada deputy governor Lawrence Schembri will provide more detail about the governing council’s thinking when he gives a speech and holds a news conference in Halifax.

The bank’s decision Wednesday kept the rate at 1.75 per cent for seventh-consecutive policy meeting. The Canadian economy experienced an abrupt deceleration over the winter that nearly brought growth to a halt.

Last week, a report from Statistics Canada said the economy expanded at an annualized pace of 3.7 per cent in the second quarter, which was higher than the Bank of Canada’s projection of 2.3 per cent.

READ MORE: Inflation hits Bank of Canada 2% target for second straight month

Andy Blatchford, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Traffic delayed near Saanich, West Shore border after driver collides with telephone pole

Police remind drivers roads to slow down on slippery, winding roads

Three VicPD officers honoured with award of valour from Lieutenant Governor

The officers were among 114 BC law enforcement member recognized for bravery and dedication

Skeena combines Roy Henry Vickers’ vibrant expression with robust oral history

Vickers’ and Budd’s ninth collaboration sells out of local book store, Amazon

Black Press Media supports Truck Light Convoy with food collection boxes

Drop off food donations at either office Monday to Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Greater Victoria 2019 holiday craft fair roundup

Get a jump on your holiday shopping

University of Victoria threatens any athletes who speak about rowing coach probe

Barney Williams has been accused of harassment and abuse

B.C.’s largest catholic archdiocese names 9 clergymen in sex abuse report; probes ongoing

Vancouver Archdioces presides over 443,000 parishoners in B.C.

POLL: Do you plan on making any purchases on Black Friday?

We’ve all seen the images. Shoppers rioting outside of a store in… Continue reading

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Nov. 19

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Eagles congregate around Salish Sea for one last feast before period of famine

Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society preparing to receive birds in need of care

Smudging in B.C. classroom did not affect Christian family’s faith, says school district lawyer

Lawyers make closing arguments in a Port Alberni case about the Indigenous cultural practice

Canadian Forces member charged with possessing magic mushrooms in Comox

Master Cpl. Joshua Alexander, with the 407 Maritime Patrol Squadron, facing two drug related charges

Most Read