BOC & BOE Shedding Hawkish Feathers?

Too busy coming up with a costume idea for Halloween that you weren’t able to keep tabs on the central bank announcements this week? Well, don’t you worry because this ol’ man has got you covered! Here’s a quick rundown of what the BOC and BOE had to say:

Bank of Canada: Rate hike? Ain’t happening!

Surprise, surprise! After months of hinting that monetary policy tightening is just around the corner, the Bank of Canada shocked the markets by dropping their rate hike bias during their interest rate statement. According to BOC Governor Poloz, economic uncertainties in the global and domestic arenas are hurting exports and investment, which means that the central bank is likely to refrain from reducing stimulus for the next few months.

Talk about a letdown, huh? Market watchers were also surprised to find out that Poloz opened the door for further easing, as he pointed out that signs of weaker inflation could lead policymakers to consider rate cuts. It didn’t help the Loonie’s cause that BOC officials decided to lower growth forecasts for this year, next year, and the year after that!

Bank of England: Keep calm and support liquidity.

Unlike the BOC statement which sparked a strong reaction from the Canadian dollar, BOE Governor Carney’s announcement had a more subdued effect on the British pound. Perhaps he didn’t want to steal the spotlight from Prince George’s royal christening?

In his speech this week, Carney spoke of granting easier access to the central bank’s liquidity programs. In particular, the BOE plans to widen the range of acceptable collateral and to lower the costs of loan insurance in order to boost lending activity among banks.

While some view this as an unconventional form of easing, others say that the central bank is simply making the most of its current stimulus programs before it starts winding down its bond purchases later on. What analysts agree on is that this kind of financial reform spells brighter prospects for credit growth and overall economic activity in the United Kingdom. Way to go, Mr. Carney!

That sums it up for my central bank wrap-up this week. Before I let y’all go and enjoy the weekend, let me leave you with one question to think about: What do these mean for the longer-term direction of the Canadian dollar and British pound? Don’t be shy to share your thoughts in the comment box below!