The Bank of Canada’s latest interest rate announcement came as no surprise to experts who say the move highlights incoming cuts this summer.

On Wednesday, the central bank held rates at five per cent for the sixth consecutive announcement, although Governor Tiff Macklem noted that he is now seeing the necessary conditions for a cut, but wants to see sustained progress before lowering rates.

The decision to hold fell in line with unanimous expectations from economists tracked by Bloomberg, including Warren Lovely, chief rates strategist and managing director at National Bank Financial, who called the announcement “pretty appropriate.”

“The Bank of Canada has been a little bit harder to handicap than some other major central banks,” he told BNN Bloomberg in a television interview on Wednesday.

“The governor, the deputy governor (and the) governing council has kept us on our toes in past decisions. This one seems about down the middle of the fairway in terms of our own expectation.”

Lovely added the rhetoric coming from the central bank shows it is still waiting for sustained progress before considering cuts.

“If things continue to evolve the way we expect on inflation, it will be appropriate to lower interest rates this year,” he said. “We didn't get that cut today, but it seems like it's coming just with a little bit more CPI evidence in hand.”

Lovely believes a cut in July is most likely, though June is possible.

“I think what we can expect is the Bank of Canada cutting interest rates two to three times this year,” he said.

Tu Nguyen, economist with RSM Canada, said she expects Canadians will see the first cut in June.

“Waiting any longer would risk repeating the mistake made in 2022 of acting too little too late,” she said.

“It is undeniable that inflation has slowed, and core inflation is steadily declining. More disinflationary is in the picture given the weakening labour market at home and China’s export of deflation abroad.”

Phil Mesman, portfolio manager and co-head of fixed income at Picton Mahoney Asset Management, said the Bank of Canada is being “cautiously patient,” but U.S. inflation is throwing a wrench in the plan. 

“The BoC must balance Canada's inflation easing and labour cracks with the persistent U.S. inflation data,” he said in an emailed statement on Wednesday.

“Today’s strong U.S. Consumer Price Index fifth hot reading in a row and this far into the tightening cycle makes it difficult for the BoC to move despite Canada/U.S. inflation and labour divergence.” 

Brooke Thackray, research analyst at Horizons ETFs, said Canadians are feeling the pinch and it’s putting the Bank of Canada in a “difficult spot” with inflation still high. 

“(Macklem) will likely need to see more solid evidence that inflation is under control before making an initial rate cut,” he said in a statement.

“A release of a low inflation rate would go a long way to enabling the Bank of Canada to make its first interest rate cut at its next scheduled meeting on June 5.”