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Interest Rate Update

February 4th, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

A quarterly Reuters poll published last Thursday indicates growth from the Canadian economy in 2010. This growth however is not indicated to be prompt enough to influence the Bank of Canada to raise interest rates anytime soon.

The survey consisted of around 20 economists, conducted over the past week, with their predictions on how the Canadian economy will emerge from the recession. The general consensus was growth by an annualized 2.5% in 2010, in line with predictions from the same poll in October.

The poll comes as the Bank of Canada this week held its key interest rate at a record low, as expected, and changed growth forecasts only slightly, highlighting weak U.S. demand and a strong Canadian dollar as risks to the recovery.

“The growth will come as the Bank of Canada notes in its press statement from the domestic side, which is benefiting from the record low interest rates and fiscal stimulus,” said Sal Guatieri, senior economist, BMO Capital Markets.
“So we should continue to see strength in housing markets, auto sales and generally a pick up in consumer spending. As well, the upturn in commodity prices should support business investment.”

The domestic economy has been aided in part by the Bank of Canada slashing rates to an all-time low near zero, where it has pledged to keep them until the end of June next year as long as inflation stays in check.

The poll shows economic growth is not expected to be forceful enough to spark a rate hike any time soon, with the median forecast in the poll not calling for any monetary tightening until July at the earliest.

The median forecast of the poll has the Bank of Canada keeping its key rate steady at 0.25% until the third quarter, when it is expected to raise it to 0.75%. It is expected to raise the rate further to 1.25% by the end of 2010, the poll showed.

Housing starts are expected to average 173,000 units in 2010, up 8.5% from the 159,400 units forecast for this year in the October poll. For 2011, housing starts are forecasted to rise to 180,000 units the median forecast showed.
Information from Jennifer Kwan, Reuters, Financial Post

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