The Bank of Canada left its target for the overnight rate unchanged at 1.75 per cent this morning.
In the statement accompanying the decision the Bank noted escalated trade tensions between the US and China has resulted in weakened business investment, lower commodity prices and heightened global risk. While the Canadian economy posted strong growth in the second quarter of this year, the Bank attributes that growth to temporary factors unlikely to be repeated in the back half of the year. Overall, the Bank judges that the economy is operating close to its potential and inflation is in line with its target. However, rising uncertainty in the global economy is impacting economic growth and further escalation may require additional monetary stimulus.
While the Bank of Canada, as expected, opted to not follow other central banks in lowering its policy rate, it has left the door open to lowering rates should developments in the global economy warrant doing so. Currently, economic conditions in Canada do not require further stimulus, and policymakers remain weary of re-igniting a build-up in household debt particularly after imposing policies designed to bring those debt burdens down. We expect the Bank will therefore remain on hold as long as current economic risk does not reach a tipping point, such as an impending recession in the United States. As the uncertain global outlook keeps bond yields down, Canadian mortgage rates should stay near their current sub-3 per cent level for some time.