The worst thing the BoC can do is getting too aggressive too fast with hiking rates: Strategist
Bank of Canada Governor Tiff Macklem said his central bank is “getting closer” to raising interest rates as slack in the economy dissipates, in line with the forward guidance officials have been providing.
While substantial monetary stimulus is still needed for the economy to fully recover, Macklem said his team remains focused on its inflation target at a time when risks associated with price pressures have increased.
“For the policy interest rate, our forward guidance has been clear that we will not raise interest rates until economic slack is absorbed,” Macklem wrote in an opinion piece for the Financial Times published Monday. “We are not there yet, but we are getting closer.”
The loonie is up 0.29 per cent against the greenback following Macklem’s article, trading at CUS$1.2512 per U.S. dollar as of 10:37 a.m. in Toronto.
The language in the article is consistent with recent efforts by Bank of Canada policy makers to reassure Canadians that they are serious about inflation, including a decision last month in which officials pushed up the timeline for possible interest rate increases to early next year.
That policy decision was more hawkish than expected and caught some market players by surprise, but Macklem said the move was in line with the central bank’s communications throughout the pandemic.
“As for our forward guidance on the policy interest rate, we were clear from the outset that it was based on an outcome,” Macklem wrote.
Canada’s inflation data for October will be released on Wednesday. After the U.S. posted a hotter-than-expected 6.2 per cent annual reading, economists have revised up their Canada estimate to 4.7 per cent. Anything much above that reading is likely to reinforce the view that inflationary pressures are becoming persistent.
Macklem reiterated that the Bank of Canada’s view is still that recent inflationary pressures will ease. Yet, he acknowledged that high level of uncertainty remains. “Supply disruptions appear to be lasting longer than we thought, and energy price increases are adding to current inflation rates,” he wrote.
He said the Bank of Canada will adjust policy if needed, depending on inflationary pressures.
“While our analysis continues to indicate that these pressures will ease, we have taken them into account for the dynamics of supply and demand,” Macklem said. “What our resolve does mean is that if we end up being wrong about the persistence of inflationary pressures and how much slack remains in the economy, we will adjust.”