The Bank of Canada on Wednesday held its target for the overnight rate at the effective lower bound of ¼ percent, with the Bank Rate at ½ percent and the deposit rate at ¼ percent.
The Bank is maintaining its extraordinary forward guidance on the path for the overnight rate. This is reinforced and supplemented by the Bank’s quantitative easing (QE) program, which is being maintained at a target pace of $2 billion per week.
The global economic recovery continued through the second quarter, led by strong US growth, and had solid momentum heading into the third quarter. However, supply chain disruptions are restraining activity in some sectors and rising cases of COVID-19 in many regions pose a risk to the strength of the global recovery. Financial conditions remain highly accommodative.
“The Bank continues to expect the economy to strengthen in the second half of 2021, although the fourth wave of COVID-19 infections and ongoing supply bottlenecks could weigh on the recovery,” it said.
The Bank of Canada kept its guidance that interest rates would stay at their current record low until the economic slack is absorbed, expected in the second half of 2022.
In Canada, GDP contracted by about 1 percent in the second quarter, weaker than anticipated in the Bank’s July Monetary Policy Report (MPR). This largely reflects a contraction in exports, due in part to supply chain disruptions, especially in the auto sector. Housing market activity pulled back from recent high levels, largely as expected. Consumption, business investment and government spending all contributed positively to growth, with domestic demand growing at more than 3 percent. Employment rebounded through June and July, with hard-to-distance sectors hiring as public health restrictions eased. This is reducing unevenness in the labour market, although considerable slack remains and some groups – particularly low-wage workers – are still disproportionately affected.