The first Bank of Canada announcement of 2019 is keeping the overnight rate at the status quo.
On January 9, 2019, the Bank of Canada (BOC) announced that the Canadian interest rate would stay at 1.75% for the time being. The 1.75% rate came into effect in October of 2018. The Bank Rate is correspondingly 2% and the deposit rate is 1.5%.
The main reasons the BOC cited for the stay are:
- Global Economy
Growth is forecast to slow to 3.4% in 2019 (down from 3.7% in 2018). Particularly, U.S. growth is expected to slow, and the U.S.-China trade conflict may affect demand and prices.
- Oil Markets
Global oil prices have been about 25% lower than assumed in October, said the BOC. This has resulted in lower trade terms and national income in Canada. “…investment in Canada’s oil sector is projected to weaken further,” stated the BOC.
- Canadian Economy and Housing Investment
The Canadian economy continues to perform well overall, with unemployment at a 40-year low.
But consumption and housing investment have been “weaker than expected.” The BOC cited housing market regulations, like municipal and provincial measures, new mortgage guidelines, and higher interest rates.
“Household spending will be dampened further by slow growth in oil-producing provinces,” the BOC said. “The Bank will continue to monitor these adjustments.”
To view the full text of the BOC decision, visit https://www.bankofcanada.ca/2019/01/fad-press-release-2019-01-09/.
The BOC still says that interest rates will need to rise over time, but that timeline will depend on the economic outlook, with emphasis on oil markets, the Canadian housing market, and global trade policy.
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