Bank of Canada holds interest rates: Read the official statement (2024)

Keeps key policy rate at 5%

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Financial Post Staff

Published Jan 24, 2024Last updated 3days ago3 minute read

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Bank of Canada holds interest rates: Read the official statement (1)

The Bank of Canada held interest rates on Jan. 24, keeping its key policy rate at five per cent.

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Here’s the Bank of Canada’s official statement for its rate decision:

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The Bank of Canada today held its target for the overnight rate at five per cent, with the bank rate at 5.25 per cent and the deposit rate at five per cent. The bank is continuing its policy of quantitative tightening.

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Global economic growth continues to slow, with inflation easing gradually across most economies. While growth in the United States has been stronger than expected, it is anticipated to slow in 2024, with weakening consumer spending and business investment. In the euro area, the economy looks to be in a mild contraction. In China, low consumer confidence and policy uncertainty will likely restrain activity. Meanwhile, oil prices are about $10 per barrel lower than was assumed in the October Monetary Policy Report (MPR). Financial conditions have eased, largely reversing the tightening that occurred last autumn.

The bank now forecasts global GDP growth of 2.5 per cent in 2024 and 2.75 per cent in 2025, following 2023’s three per cent pace. With softer growth this year, inflation rates in most advanced economies are expected to come down slowly, reaching central bank targets in 2025.

In Canada, the economy has stalled since the middle of 2023 and growth will likely remain close to zero through the first quarter of 2024. Consumers have pulled back their spending in response to higher prices and interest rates, and business investment has contracted. With weak growth, supply has caught up with demand and the economy now looks to be operating in modest excess supply. Labour market conditions have eased, with job vacancies returning to near pre-pandemic levels and new jobs being created at a slower rate than population growth. However, wages are still rising around four per cent to five per cent.

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Economic growth is expected to strengthen gradually around the middle of 2024. In the second half of 2024, household spending will likely pick up and exports and business investment should get a boost from recovering foreign demand. Spending by governments contributes materially to growth through the year. Overall, the bank forecasts GDP growth of 0.8 per cent in 2024 and 2.4 per cent in 2025, roughly unchanged from its October projection.

CPI inflation ended the year at 3.4 per cent. Shelter costs remain the biggest contributor to above-target inflation. The bank expects inflation to remain close to three per cent during the first half of this year before gradually easing, returning to the two per cent target in 2025. While the slowdown in demand is reducing price pressures in a broader number of CPI components and corporate pricing behaviour continues to normalize, core measures of inflation are not showing sustained declines.

Given the outlook, Governing Council decided to hold the policy rate at five per cent and to continue to normalize the bank’s balance sheet. The council is still concerned about risks to the outlook for inflation, particularly the persistence in underlying inflation. Governing Council wants to see further and sustained easing in core inflation and continues to focus on the balance between demand and supply in the economy, inflation expectations, wage growth and corporate pricing behaviour. The bank remains resolute in its commitment to restoring price stability for Canadians.

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As an expert in economics and financial markets, I have a comprehensive understanding of central bank policies, interest rates, inflation dynamics, and economic indicators. My expertise spans from analyzing monetary policy decisions to interpreting macroeconomic trends and their implications for various stakeholders.

In the recent article discussing the Bank of Canada's monetary policy decision to keep its key policy rate at 5%, several critical concepts are highlighted:

  1. Key Policy Rate: The Bank of Canada, like many central banks worldwide, sets a key policy rate, also known as the overnight rate. This rate influences borrowing costs for banks and, subsequently, affects interest rates for consumers and businesses across the economy.

  2. Quantitative Tightening: The article mentions that the Bank of Canada is continuing its policy of quantitative tightening. Quantitative tightening refers to the central bank's reduction of its balance sheet or assets to tighten monetary conditions.

  3. Global Economic Conditions: The article discusses global economic conditions, noting that while global growth is slowing, inflation is easing across most economies. Factors such as weakening consumer spending, business investment, and policy uncertainty in major economies like the United States, euro area, and China are highlighted.

  4. Oil Prices and Financial Conditions: The article mentions that oil prices are lower than previously assumed and that financial conditions have eased, indicating a reversal of the tightening that occurred earlier.

  5. Canadian Economic Outlook: The article outlines the economic situation in Canada, highlighting stalled growth since mid-2023, consumer spending pullback due to higher prices and interest rates, and the easing of labor market conditions.

  6. Inflation Dynamics: Inflation in Canada is discussed, with CPI inflation ending the year at 3.4%, driven primarily by shelter costs. The Bank of Canada expects inflation to remain close to three per cent in the first half of the year before gradually easing.

  7. Monetary Policy Decision Rationale: The Bank of Canada's decision to hold the policy rate at five per cent is explained in the context of its outlook on inflation, demand-supply balance, inflation expectations, wage growth, and corporate pricing behavior.

Understanding these concepts provides insight into the factors influencing central bank decisions, economic forecasts, and the broader financial landscape. As demonstrated by the article, interpreting such information requires a nuanced understanding of economic theory and real-world dynamics.

Bank of Canada holds interest rates: Read the official statement (2024)

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