13 Jul

Bank of Canada Shocks With 100 bps Rate Hike.

Economic

Posted by: Tessa Parascak

Bank of Canada Shocks With 100 bps Rate Hike.

A Super-Sized Rate Hike, Signalling More To Come 

The Governing Council of the Bank of Canada raised its target for the overnight policy rate by a full percentage point to 2-1/2%. The Bank is also continuing its policy of quantitative tightening (QT), reducing its holdings of Government of Canada bonds, which puts additional upward pressure on longer-term interest rates.

In its press release this morning, the Bank said that “inflation in Canada is higher and more persistent than the Bank expected in its April Monetary Policy Report (MPR), and will likely remain around 8% in the next few months… While global factors such as the war in Ukraine and ongoing supply disruptions have been the biggest drivers, domestic price pressures from excess demand are becoming more prominent. More than half of the components that make up the CPI are now rising by more than 5%.”

The Bank is particularly concerned that inflation pressures will become entrenched. Consumer and business surveys have recently suggested that inflation expectations are rising and are expected to be higher for longer. Wage inflation has accelerated to 5.2% in the June Labour Force Survey. The unemployment rate has fallen to a record-low 4.9%, with job vacancy rates hitting a record high in Ontario and Alberta.

Central banks worldwide are aggressively hiking interest rates, and growth is slowing. “In the United States, high inflation and rising interest rates contribute to a slowdown in domestic demand. China’s economy is being held back by waves of restrictive measures to contain COVID-19 outbreaks. Oil prices remain high and volatile. The Bank expects global economic growth to slow to about 3½% this year and 2% in 2023 before strengthening to 3% in 2024.”

Further excess demand is evident in the Canadian economy. “With strong demand, businesses are passing on higher input and labour costs by raising prices. Consumption is robust, led by a rebound in spending on hard-to-distance services. Business investment is solid, and exports are being boosted by elevated commodity prices. The Bank estimates that GDP grew by about 4% in the second quarter. Growth is expected to slow to about 2% in the third quarter as consumption growth moderates and housing market activity pulls back following unsustainable strength during the pandemic.”

In the July Monetary Policy Report, released today, the Bank published its forecasts for Canada’s economy to grow by 3.5% in 2022–in line with consensus expectations–1.75% in 2023 and 2.5% in 2024. Some economists are already forecasting weaker growth next year, in line with a moderate recession. The Bank has not gone that far yet.

According to the Bank of Canada, “economic activity will slow as global growth moderates, and tighter monetary policy works its way through the economy. This, combined with the resolution of supply disruptions, will bring demand and supply back into balance and alleviate inflationary pressures. Global energy prices are also projected to decline. The July outlook has inflation starting to come back down later this year, easing to about 3% by the end of next year and returning to the 2% target by the end of 2024.”

Bank of Canada Overnight Rate

 

Bottom Line

Today’s Bank of Canada reports confirmed that the Governing Council continues to judge that interest rates will need to rise further, and “the pace of increases will be guided by the Bank’s ongoing assessment of the economy and inflation.” Once again, the Bank asserted it is “resolute in its commitment to price stability and will continue to take action as required to achieve the 2% inflation target.”

At 2.5%, the policy rate is at the midpoint of its ‘neutral’ range. This is the level at which monetary policy is deemed to be neither expansionary nor restrictive. Governor Macklem said he expects the Bank to hike the target to 3% or slightly higher. Before today’s actions, markets had expected the yearend overnight rate at 3.5%.

Written By DLC Chief Economic Expert Dr. Sherry Cooper.

1 Jun

The Bank of Canada Hikes Rates Again By 50 bps.

Economic

Posted by: Tessa Parascak

The Bank of Canada Hikes Rates Again By 50 bps.

Another Jumbo Rate Hike, Signalling More To Come

The Governing Council of the Bank of Canada raised the overnight policy rate by a full 50 basis points once again today, marking the third rate hike this year. The two back-to-back half-point increases are without precedent, but so were the dramatic pandemic rate cuts in the spring of 2020. Indeed, with the surge in Canadian inflation to 6.8% in April, the Bank of Canada is still behind the curve. The chart below shows that inflation remains well above the Bank’s forecasts. Today’s press release suggests they now estimate that inflation rose again in May and could well accelerate further.

Today’s policy statement emphasized that “As pervasive input price pressures feed through into consumer prices, inflation continues to broaden, with core measures of inflation ranging between 3.2% and 5.1%. Almost 70% of CPI categories now show inflation above 3%. The risk of elevated inflation becoming entrenched has risen. The Bank will use its monetary policy tools to return inflation to target and keep inflation expectations well anchored.”

“The increase in global inflation is occurring as the global economy slows. The Russian invasion of Ukraine, China’s COVID-related lockdowns, and ongoing supply disruptions are all weighing on activity and boosting inflation. The war has increased uncertainty and is putting further upward pressure on prices for energy and agricultural commodities. This is dampening the outlook, particularly in Europe. In the United States, private domestic demand remains robust, despite the economy contracting in the first quarter of 2022.”

The Bank said that “Canadian economic activity is strong and the economy is clearly operating in excess demand. National accounts data for the first quarter of 2022 showed GDP growth of 3.1 percent, in line with the Bank’s April Monetary Policy Report (MPR) projection. Job vacancies are elevated, companies are reporting widespread labour shortages, and wage growth has been picking up and broadening across sectors. Housing market activity is moderating from exceptionally high levels. With consumer spending in Canada remaining robust and exports anticipated to strengthen, growth in the second quarter is expected to be solid”.

 

Bottom Line

The Bank of Canada couldn’t be more forthright. The concluding paragraph of the policy statement is as follows: “With the economy in excess demand, and inflation persisting well above target and expected to move higher in the near term, the Governing Council continues to judge that interest rates will need to rise further. The policy interest rate remains the Bank’s primary monetary policy instrument, with quantitative tightening acting as a complementary tool. The pace of further increases in the policy rate will be guided by the Bank’s ongoing assessment of the economy and inflation, and the Governing Council is prepared to act more forcefully if needed to meet its commitment to achieve the 2% inflation target.”

The Bank of Canada has told us we should expect at least another 50 bps rate hike when they meet again on July 13. It could even be 75 bps if inflation shows no sign of decelerating. The Bank estimates that the overnight rate’s neutral (noninflationary) level is  2%-to-3%. Traders currently expect the policy rate to end the year at roughly 3%.

This was a very hawkish policy statement. The central bank is defending its credibility and will undoubtedly continue to tighten monetary policy aggressively.

Written By DLC ‘s Chief Economist Dr. Sherry Cooper

13 Apr

Out-Sized Jump In Bank of Canada Policy Rate.

Economic

Posted by: Tessa Parascak

Out-Sized Jump In Bank of Canada Policy Rate.

Bank of Canada Hikes Rates by 50 BPs, Signalling More To Come 

The Governing Council of the Bank of Canada raised the overnight policy rate by a full 50 basis points for the first time in 22 years. This was a widely telegraphed action that will be followed by the US Federal Reserve next month. While the BoC was the first G-7 central bank to take such aggressive action, the Bank of New Zealand also hiked rates today by half a percentage point. Considering the surge in inflation and the strength of the Canadian economy, another jumbo rate hike may well be in the cards.

The Bank now realizes that inflation is coming, not just from supply disruptions but also from excessive demand. “In Canada, Growth is strong, and the economy is moving into excess demand. Labour markets are tight, and wage growth is back to its pre-pandemic pace and rising. Businesses increasingly report they are having difficulty meeting demand, and are able to pass on higher input costs by increasing prices.”

The Bank now says that “Growth looks to have been stronger in the first quarter than projected in January and is likely to pick up in the second quarter. Consumer spending is strengthening with the lifting of pandemic containment measures. Exports and business investment will continue to recover, supported by strong foreign demand and high commodity prices. Housing market activity, which has been exceptionally high, is expected to moderate”.

The Governing Council has, once again, revised up its inflation forecast. CPI inflation is now expected to average almost 6% in the first half of 2022 and remain well above the control range throughout this year. It is then expected to ease to about 2½% in the second half of 2023 and return to the 2% target in 2024. There is an increasing risk that expectations of elevated inflation could become entrenched.

With the economy moving into excess demand and inflation persisting well above target, the Governing Council judges that interest rates will need to rise further. The Bank is also ending reinvestment and will begin quantitative tightening (QT), effective April 25. Maturing Government of Canada bonds on the Bank’s balance sheet will no longer be replaced, and, as a result, the balance sheet size will decline over time. This will put further upward pressure on interest rates further out the yield curve.

 

Bottom Line

Traders are betting that the overnight rate will approach 3.0% one year from today. In today’s Monetary Policy Report (MPR), the Bank revised upward its estimate of the neutral overnight rate to a range of 2.0% to 3.0%–up 25 bps from their estimate one year ago. This is the Bank’s estimate of the overnight rate that is consistent with the noninflationary potential growth rate of the economy.

The rise in interest rates has already shown signs of slowing the Canadian housing market. The MPR states that “Resales are expected to soften somewhat in the second quarter as borrowing rates rise. Low levels of both builders’ inventories and existing homes for sale should support new construction and renovations in the near term”.

Bond yields have risen in anticipation of the Bank of Canada’s move taking the five-year fixed mortgage rate up to between 3.5% and 4%. This could be a pivotal time, as mortgage borrowers must qualify for loans at the maximum of 5.25% or 2 percentage points above the offered contract rate. We are now beyond the  2 ppts threshold, which reduces the buying power of many.

Written by Chief Economist DLC, Dr. Sherry Cooper