The Bank of Canada held its overnight rate at 1.75 per cent this morning. In the statement accompanying the decision the Bank noted that while economic growth slowed in the fourth quarter, the global economy appears to be stabilizing and export demand and business investment should pick-up over the next year. In addition, strong population and income growth will provide a boost to consumer spending and the housing market continues to recover. The Bank projects that inflation will stay around its 2 per cent target over the next two years.
Although the Canadian economy appears to have limped to the finish line in 2019, pressure on the Bank of Canada to lower rates may actually be easing as risks to the Global economy fade. Fear surrounding the outlook for the United States has subsided due to rate-cutting by the US Federal Reserve and guarded optimism around US-China trade relations. With external risks to the outlook diminished, the Bank will likely remain focused on restraining the growth of household debt. Therefore, it is unlikely the Bank will opt to lower its policy rate this year, absent a significant deterioration in the outlook for Canadian growth and inflation.