(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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

UPDATED: Interior Health to add 495 long-term seniors care beds

Nelson, Kelowna, Kamloops, Vernon and Penticton to receive new facilities

Graffiti sprayed on 100 Mile Community Hall

‘We’re having a hard time through this COVID’

Have you been following the Justin Trudeau and WE Charity story?

The weekly web poll for the 100 Mile Free Press

Highway 97 to be repaved in 100 Mile House following complaints

‘It’s been over a month now since those holes have been developing’

South Cariboo piano students see success at online exams

‘I like learning new songs and then actually getting to play them well’

Sources say Canada, U.S. likely to extend mutual travel ban into late August

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau hinted at the possibility after a phone call with U.S. President

B.C. man who went by ‘Doctor Ray Gaglardi’ charged with sex assault of teenage boys

The man, 75, is accused of assaulting teenage boys he met through Coquitlam-area churches

B.C.’s potential deficit $12.5 billion as spending spikes, taxes drop

Finance Minister Carole James gives COVID-19 outlook

Canadians torn on scaling back COVID-19 benefits to save money: poll

Of those surveyed, 78 per cent said they were worried about the size of the deficit

‘Trauma equals addiction’: Why some seek solace in illicit drugs

Part 2: Many pushed into addiction by ‘toxic stress,’ says White Rock psychologist

Hotel rooms for B.C. homeless too hasty, NDP government told

Businesses forced out, but crime goes down, minister says

Wage subsidy will be extended until December amid post-COVID reopening: Trudeau

Trudeau said the extension will ‘give greater certainty and support to businesses’

B.C. government prepares for COVID-19 economic recovery efforts

New measures after July consultation, Carole James says

Most Read