Tomorrow at 2:00 pm GMT the Bank of Canada (BOC) will print its monetary policies for the month of May.
What happened last time and how can you prepare for this week’s release? Here are points you need to know:
What happened last time?
As expected, the BOC kept its interest rates steady in April. Specifically, the overnight rate remained at 1.25%; the Bank rate stayed at 1.50%, and the deposit rate was maintained at 1.00%.
In its official statement the BOC upgraded its growth outlook, saying that new fiscal measures and upward revisions to output growth will result in 2.0% growth in 2018 and 2019 and a 1.8% uptick in 2020.
The central bank also explained that the weakness in Q1 primarily reflects weaknesses in housing markets and exports, but that these weaknesses are expected be unwound some time this year. Exports, in particular, should pop up due to improved foreign demand and additional capacity brought about by increased business investment.
The BOC concluded its statement by saying that “higher interest rates will be warranted over time,” but that the Council “will remain cautious with respect to future policy adjustments.”
The sentiment was repeated by Governor Stephen Poloz himself in the presser that followed. In it he emphasized that the pace of future rate hikes was still a question mark, as they evaluate Canada’s improved prospects against geopolitical and trade-related (read: NAFTA) uncertainties.
How did the Loonie react?
Rate hike junkies who were expecting a bit more hawkishness from the official statement and Poloz’ presser sold the Loonie when they heard that the BOC isn’t as exciting about raising rates as they believed.
Luckily for the comdoll, crude oil prices were shooting up at the time and was taking the oil-related currency along for the ride.
What are market players expecting this time?
Not a lot has changed in the five weeks since the BOC’s last statement, so the general consensus is that the central bank will maintain its policies steady for another month in May. In fact, not a lot are expecting rate hikes until July.Recall that Poloz spent a good part of a speech earlier this month warning against high household debt. He said that it has hit 170% of the Canadians’ disposable income, which makes consumers more vulnerable to interest rate hikes.
For a central bank who hinted that its next moves will be data-dependent, the BOC will also likely want to wait for Statistics Canada’s Q2 2018 GDP report on May 31 and its own Business Outlook Survey on June 29 before making any big changes.
And there’s the teeny tiny issue regarding NAFTA negotiations. Since there’s no definite deadline for the negotiations yet, Poloz and his team can afford to wait a few more months before rocking the monetary policy boat.
Does this mean that this week’s release will be a non-event?
Since BOC will only publish a one-page statement and NOT give any pressers, analysts will geek out even more over the release. Specifically, they’ll look for clues on what the central bank thinks about global trade, inflation, housing market, and economic slack and how all these factor in the odds of a July rate hike.
Oh, and don’t forget to keep your eyes peeled for crude oil’s price action in case it turns out to be a bigger mover for the Loonie than the BOC’s statement!