The Bank of Canada is seen Wednesday September 6, 2017 in Ottawa.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Bank of Canada keeps key rate target on hold, trims growth expectations for 2020

The central bank says in its latest forecast that the Canadian economy will grow by 1.6 per cent this year

The Bank of Canada is keeping its key interest rate target on hold at 1.75 per cent and forecasting a slower-than-expected start for the Canadian economy in 2020.

The central bank says in its latest forecast that the Canadian economy will grow by 1.6 per cent this year, down 0.1 of a percentage point from its projection in October.

While some of the slowdown late last year is being chalked up to a strike at CN Rail and an outage at the Keystone pipeline, the central bank says the weaker figures could also signal that global uncertainty is affecting Canada more than previously predicted.

The picture the bank painted in its report Wednesday was a sharp contrast from its last look at the economy, when a degree of domestic resilience remained in spite of weaker data points outside Canada’s borders.

There is “considerable uncertainty” about how long household spending may stay soft, the report said, as households are expected to be more cautious with their spending decisions and save more in the face of high levels of debt — all this despite a federal tax cut that kicked in on Jan. 1 and growth in wages.

The bank suggested weakness in the manufacturing sector and a tightening of provincial purse strings may have a dampening effect on the economy.

The report said ratification of the new North American free trade deal — a top priority for the Trudeau Liberals now that the U.S. and Mexico have completed their processes — and a partial trade detente between the United States and China should help stoke economic fires in Canada.

Growth for 2021 is forecast at two per cent, up from the bank’s October forecast of 1.8 per cent.

The outlook for the economy could change if the Trump administration follows through on threats to slap tariffs on France, Brazil and Argentina.

The report also cites as a risk ongoing tensions between the United States and Iran, which has already led to the tragic downing of a Ukrainian passenger jet with Canadians onboard. An escalation could roil the Middle East and likely increase the price of oil, leading to higher gas prices across the country.

ALSO READ: Meng’s lawyer argues at extradition hearing that fraud allegations are ‘facade’

The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Dragon’s Den auditions return to Victoria in search of business pitches

Auditions take place on March 5 at Parkside Hotel and Spa

Meet the new owner of one of Vancouver Island’s most remote restaurants

Kevin Foley, originally from Regina, Saskatchewan, has bought the Scarlet Ibis Pub & Restaurant

Mitchell’s Musings: Modern language is a work in progress

‘Professional’ communication requires more critical thinking from listeners

T.W. Paterson column: Martial law in Ladysmith and other odds ‘n’ ends and random observations

If, as they say, history occasionally repeats itself, it also does 180-degree turnarounds.

Group continues to pull sunken, abandoned wrecks from Salish Sea

Dead Boats society inching towards 89 wrecks pulled from Capital Regional waters

Governor general says multiple solutions needed for ‘complicated’ overdose issue

Julie Payette met at a fire hall with firefighters and police officers as well as politicians and health experts

HIGHLIGHTS: Day one and two at the 2020 BC Winter Games

Athletes had sunny – but cold – weather to work with in Fort St. John

B.C. money laundering inquiry to begin amid hopes for answers, accountability

Eby argued that most B.C. residents already know the previous government, at best, turned a blind eye

Blockades remain in place as Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs returning to B.C.

Hereditary Chief Woos said they are ready to engage in nation-to-nation talks with the B.C.

Tyler Toffoli scores twice, Canucks crush Bruins 9-3

Stecher, Miller each add three points for Vancouver

Zamboni driver, 42, earns NHL win over Maple Leafs

Emergency goalie called into action for Carolina Hurricanes

Court awards Nanaimo woman $300,000 after crash exacerbates her fibromyalgia

Judgment follows 2015 motor vehicle accident on Turner Road

Landlord ordered to pay $11K after harassing B.C. mom to move days after giving birth

Germaine Valdez was pressured to move just a few days after giving birth by C-section to her child

Most Read