Bank of Canada likely isn't moving on rates this year: Economist
The Bank of Canada is likely to stand pat on interest rates for the remainder of this year and well into 2020, according to the chief economist of BMO Financial Group.
In an interview with BNN Bloomberg, Doug Porter said that Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz’s remarks in Iqaluit on Monday effectively signals that the central bank will not lower rates this year.
“For all intents and purposes, this really did quash talk about a potential rate cut later this year, unless something seriously breaks in the global economy,” Porter told BNN Bloomberg’s Amber Kanwar and Jon Erlichman on Tuesday.
“Overall if I had to summarize it in a single sentence, it sounds like the bank is going nowhere this year with rates. Neither up nor down and possibly well into 2020 with no changes in rates.”
In March, TD Securities’ senior rates strategist Andrew Kelvin argued that Poloz could not only hold off on raising rates throughout 2020 but even cut rates later this year. Kelvin said weaker economic data and declining consumer spending amid a struggling oil patch would likely prompt the Canadian central bank to lower its overnight policy rate.
But Poloz gave a more optimistic view of Canada’s economic outlook on Monday, expressing confidence the country will be able to emerge from its current soft patch.
Porter said that the recovery of Canadian oil prices from their lows this past fall are a sign that the economy could strengthen.
“For Canadian oil prices, they’ve come rocketing back,” Porter said. “This is going to show up, of course, not just in inflation, it’s also heavily going to support Alberta activity as we go through this year and that’s what caused a lot of the slowdown.”
While the Canadian housing market has cooled, Porter added that he’s not bearish on Canadian consumer spending or housing market given the pullback in long-term interest rates, the country’s population growth and the federal budget’s housing measures.
“We are dealing with a somewhat tired consumer in Canada,” Porter said. “We can’t expect the consumer to lead growth, but I also don’t see the conditions that [are] going to tip the consumer into an outright downturn in the next year or so.”