Today's Statement (10/27/2021)

The Bank of Canada today held its target for the overnight rate at the effective lower bound of 0.25% percent, with the Bank Rate at 0.5% percent and the deposit rate at 0.25% percent. The Bank’s extraordinary forward guidance on the path for the overnight rate is being maintained. The Bank is ending quantitative easing (QE) and moving into the reinvestment phase, during which it will purchase Government of Canada bonds solely to replace maturing bonds.

The global economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic is progressing. Vaccines are proving highly effective against the virus, although their availability and distribution globally remain uneven and COVID variants pose risks to health and economic activity. In the face of strong global demand for goods, pandemic-related disruptions to production and transportation are constraining growth. Inflation rates have increased in many countries, boosted by these supply bottlenecks and by higher energy prices. While bond yields have risen in recent weeks, financial conditions remain accommodative and continue to support economic activity.

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The Bank now forecasts Canada’s economy will grow by 5% this year before moderating to 4.25% percent in 2022 and 3.75% percent in 2023. Demand is expected to be supported by strong consumption and business investment, and a rebound in exports as the US economy continues to recover. Housing activity has moderated but is expected to remain elevated. On the supply side, shortages of manufacturing inputs, transportation bottlenecks, and difficulties in matching jobs to workers are limiting the economy’s productive capacity. Although the impact and persistence of these supply factors are hard to quantify, the output gap is likely to be narrower than the Bank had forecast in July.

The recent increase in CPI inflation was anticipated in July, but the main forces pushing up prices – higher energy prices and pandemic-related supply bottlenecks – now appear to be stronger and more persistent than expected. Core measures of inflation have also risen, but by less than the CPI. The Bank now expects CPI inflation to be elevated into next year, and ease back to around the 2% target by late 2022. The Bank is closely watching inflation expectations and labor costs to ensure that the temporary forces pushing up prices do not become embedded in ongoing inflation.

The Governing Council judges that in view of ongoing excess capacity, the economy continues to require considerable monetary policy support. We remain committed to holding the policy interest rate at the effective lower bound until economic slack is absorbed so that the 2% inflation target is sustainably achieved. In the Bank’s projection, this happens sometime in the middle quarters of 2022. In light of the progress made in the economic recovery, the Governing Council has decided to end quantitative easing and keep its overall holdings of Government of Canada bonds roughly constant.

Market Reaction

Following the release of the BoC Rate Decision, there was some strong movement towards the downside on USD/CAD meaning the Canadian Dollar Strengthened.


Bank of Canada Rate Statement Explained

The Bank of Canada Rate Statement is the primary tool the Bank of Canada uses to communicate with investors about monetary policy. It contains the outcome of their decision on interest rates and commentary about the economic conditions that influenced their decision.

The announcement conveys to the financial markets and investors what, if any, changes in policy might be. The main focus is the target set for the overnight rate (BoC Rate Decision). Policy is framed around keeping the annual rate of inflation as measured by the consumer price index (CPI) within a 1 percent to 3 percent range and close to the 2 percent midpoint over the longer-run. To this end, the BoC also monitors an adjusted measure of the CPI that excludes a range of volatile categories in order to get a better handle on underlying trends.

BoC Rate Decision

Bank of Canada determines interest rate policy at eight meetings during the year and they are an influential event for the markets. Prior to each meeting, market participants speculate about the possibility of an interest rate change. A post-meeting statement is issued after each meeting. Unlike the Federal Reserve, there are no post-meeting minutes. The Bank has an inflation target range of 1 percent to 3 percent with a specific focus on the 2 percent midpoint.

Although the Bank monitors many economic indicators, as indeed all central banks do, the Bank converted its inflation barometer for operational purposes to a consumer price index measure that subtracts eight volatile components to better reflect core inflation. It also takes the foreign exchange rate for the Canadian dollar into its monetary policy decisions.

Monetary policy goals are to aid and abet solid economic growth along with rising living standards. To achieve these goals, inflation is kept low, stable, and predictable. The inflation control target is at the heart of Canadian monetary policy that the Bank and the Government have established. The level of interest rates and the exchange rate determine the monetary environment in which the Canadian economy operates.

The level of interest rates affects the economy. Higher interest rates tend to slow economic activity; lower interest rates stimulate economic activity. Either way, interest rates influence the sales environment. In the consumer sector, few homes or cars will be purchased when interest rates rise. Furthermore, interest rate costs are a significant factor for many businesses, particularly for companies with high debt loads or who have to finance high inventory levels. This interest cost has a direct impact on corporate profits. The bottom line is that higher interest rates are bearish for the financial markets, while lower interest rates are bullish.