Expect BoC rate hike next week, followed by a fall pause

By Staff | July 6, 2018 | Last updated on July 6, 2018
3 min read

The Bank of Canada is expected to raise its target for the overnight rate to 1.5% on Wednesday.

Canada’s Big Five banks have unanimously called for a hike on July 11 in recent reports, and the C.D. Howe Institute’s Monetary Policy Council (MPC) is expecting the same.

The MPC, which in a July 5 report offers an assessment of the monetary stance consistent with the BoC’s 2% inflation target, says, “All but one of the nine MPC members who attended [a recent] meeting called for an overnight rate target higher than the current one at the upcoming [BoC] meeting.”

The main reason is “the group’s view that Canadian economic data in the second quarter have rebounded from a sluggish beginning to 2018,” the MPC says, noting that domestic output has risen since April, the labour market is tightening and the housing market is stabilizing.

Read: Two cities saw housing affordability improve in Q1: RBC

The MPC also points to headline inflation in the latest CPI data, “and two of the Bank’s three core CPI measures above the 2% target,” as well as”strong” U.S. data.

While the central bank’s latest Business Outlook Survey was largely taken prior to U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum being imposed—a fact that the BoC also highlighted—the resulting uncertainty did not sway the C.D. Howe council’s vote for next week’s BoC meeting.

Read: Look beyond optimistic tone of BoC biz survey

It did, however, lead to “caution” regarding the next meeting. At the BoC’s September meeting, the MPC predicts the central bank will hold at 1.5%, with “further increases raising [the target for the overnight rate] to 2% by July of 2019.”

What the Big Five banks expect

“If the relative softness of prior months’ jobs figures were not enough to move Governor Poloz and company off a July hike, there is nothing in this latest data likely to do the trick,” says TD Bank in a July 6 report on Canada’s June employment data.

Despite potential economic hurdles and global tensions, the bank says, “We continue to look for a policy interest rate hike on July 11th.”

BMO agrees, noting there’s not enough in Friday’s employment data “to change [the BoC’s] outlook, so if they were biased to hike next week prior to today (as we and the market believe), they are still biased to hike now.”

Read: Unemployment rate rises in Canada and U.S. despite adding jobs

A July 3 report from Scotiabank says the BoC “will raise rates another 125 basis points, to 2.5%, by end-2019,” on the back of moderating growth and capacity pressures. A separate report, also from July 3, notes the U.S. Federal Reserve will only be 0.5% ahead of the BoC, with a federal funds interest rate of 3% by the end of next year.

CIBC, in its week ahead report for July 2 to 6, said “a nice rebound in Canada’s labour force survey for June” would be “the last piece of the puzzle for a Bank of Canada rate hike in July.” Following the release of those numbers on July 6, CIBC Capital Markets chief economist Avery Shenfeld said in a research note that the data is “good enough” to encourage the central bank to hike.

However, CIBC’s week ahead said it expects “that economic growth will moderate enough after Q2 to force another extended pause on rates.”

RBC doesn’t expect markets will be surprised if the BoC is optimistic in its coming announcement. In a July 6 research note, RBC cites “generally solid data flow and relatively upbeat commentary from Governor Poloz” as two factors leading to a hike.

Also read: Why aren’t Americans benefiting from robust U.S. economy?

Advisor.ca staff


The staff of Advisor.ca have been covering news for financial advisors since 1998.