December 2, 2015
The Bank of Canada announced this morning that it is maintaining its target for the overnight rate at 0.5 per cent. In the press release accompanying the decision, the Bank noted that inflation is in line with its outlook with total CPI inflation near the bottom of the Bank's 1 to 3 per cent target range while core inflation remains close to 2 per cent. On growth, the Bank cited ongoing and complex adjustments in the Canadian economy to low commodity prices, but expects growth to move above potential (usually estimated to be about 2 per cent) in 2016.
Absent a substantial recovery in global commodity prices, the Canadian economy will more than likely grow near its long-term trend rate over the next two years. That rate of growth will keep inflation relatively anchored at or below its 2 per cent target. A baseline scenario of economic growth above 2 per cent, paired with low inflation and steady job growth should keep the Bank of Canada sidelined over the medium run. However, several quarters of steady growth following the oil price shock of late 2014 may convince policymakers that the economy is no longer in need of the monetary stimulus injected into the economy via two rate cuts in early 2015. If so, the Bank may shift back to a tightening bias with a potential rate increase late next year or in early 2017.
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