Canada’s inflation forecast: On target

July 12, 2019 | Last updated on July 12, 2019
3 min read
Close-up of payment machine buttons with human hand holding plastic card near by
© Dmitriy Shironosov / 123RF Stock Photo

Among the economic data to be released next week, Canada’s inflation numbers will likely be the most anticipated, though investors shouldn’t expect the data to move the dial for interest rate expectations.

Canada’s consumer price index (CPI) for June will be published Wednesday. As a result of falling gas prices, CIBC Capital Markets said in a weekly economics report that it expects a decline in CPI of 0.2% month over month (non-seasonally adjusted), causing the headline rate to decelerate to 2.0%.

The Bank of Canada’s core-common component measure of inflation should remain at 1.8%, it said, so both headline and core inflation remain close to target.

In a report released today, Scotiabank Economics noted that inflation in Canada relative to the U.S. is of “great importance.” While Canadian inflation is on target, it’s moved away from the Federal Reserve’s target, given past U.S. dollar strength, among other factors. “This should allow the [Bank of Canada] to remain on hold as the Federal Reserve cuts rates to, in part, push inflation higher,” it said.

Scotiabank and CIBC forecast two Fed rate cuts this year; CIBC forecasts the next rate cut from the Bank of Canada to come in June 2020. (Scotiabank has no rate cuts in its Canadian forecast through 2020.)

Manufacturing shipments will also be released Wednesday, with CIBC forecasting a “strong” 2.0% growth, which it described as a rebound to normal levels of activity rather than any sustainable acceleration in growth—the case with much of Canada’s recent economic data, it said.

Other upcoming economic releases for Canada include retail sales for May, on Friday. While retail sales started the second quarter on soft footing with 0.1% growth in April, “shoppers likely opened their wallets again in May,” helped by autos, higher gas prices and a rebound in seasonal purchases delayed by the late arrival of warmer weather, said the CIBC report. The bank forecasts sales growth at 0.6%, while consensus forecasts 0.3%. In a weekly report, National Bank said it expected more lacklustre auto sales, and its forecast is in line with consensus.

Looking ahead to the second half of the year, CIBC said spending growth will likely decelerate, particularly with the household savings rate running at “what seems to be unsustainably low levels.”

The U.S. will release retail sales for June on Tuesday, with “solid” spending expected as a result of labour income gains, the CIBC report said, forecasting a gain of 0.3% month over month. Though employment gains are expected to shrink going forward, lower interest rate expectations will provide an offset for spending power, it said.

National Bank’s forecast is a tick more conservative, at 0.2%, but still translates to a healthy 7.4% annualized in the second quarter, it said.

Other U.S. releases include industrial production (Tuesday) and housing starts (Wednesday), both for June. CIBC forecasts the former to gain 0.2%, as does National Bank, based on gains in manufacturing payrolls and hours worked. For housing, lower mortgage rates are supportive, a sign that homebuilding could hold up better ahead, CIBC said.

Globally, releases next week include trade data for the eurozone, trade and inflation for Japan, and second-quarter GDP data for China.

For full details, read the reports from CIBC, Scotiabank and National Bank.