Bank of Canada holds benchmark interest rates steady, updates its economic outlook

Economic Insights Raymond Walia 10 Jun

This morning, in its fourth announcement of 2021, the Bank of Canada left its target overnight benchmark rate unchanged at 0.25%. As a result, the Bank Rate stays at 0.5%. It also provided somewhat encouraging thoughts on the state of, and outlook for, the Canadian and global economies and updated its outlook on inflation. Here is a summary:

Canadian economic conditions

  • Economic developments have been broadly in line with the Bank’s outlook published in the April Monetary Policy Report
  • First quarter GDP growth came in at a robust 5.6% and while this was lower than the Bank originally projected, “the underlying details indicate rising confidence and resilient demand”
  • Household spending was stronger than expected, while businesses drew down inventories and increased imports “more than anticipated”
  • Economic activity so far in the second quarter has been dampened, largely as anticipated, due to renewed lockdowns associated with the third wave of COVID-19 and recent jobs data show that workers “in contact-sensitive sectors” have once again been negatively affected

Inflation

  • CPI inflation has risen to around the top of the Bank’s 1-3% inflation-control range, due largely to base-year (2020) effects and much stronger gasoline prices
  • Core measures of inflation have also risen, due primarily to temporary factors and base year effects, but by much less than CPI inflation
  • While CPI inflation will likely remain near 3% through the summer, it is expected to ease later in the year, as base-year effects diminish and excess capacity continues to exert downward pressure

Global conditions

  • With COVID-19 cases falling in many countries and vaccine coverage rising, global economic activity is picking up
  • The US is experiencing a strong consumer-driven recovery and a rebound is beginning to take shape in Europe, while a resurgence of the virus is hampering the recovery in some emerging market economies
  • Financial conditions remain highly accommodative, reflected in broadly higher asset prices

Looking forward

Despite progress on vaccinations, there continues to be uncertainty about the evolution of new COVID-19 variants. However, with provincial containment restrictions on an easing path over the summer, the Bank still expects the Canadian economy to rebound strongly, led by consumer spending. Growth in foreign demand and higher commodity prices should also lead to a solid recovery in exports and business investment, according to the Bank.

With respect to the housing market, the Bank’s only comment was that “activity is expected to moderate but remain elevated.” In April, the Bank opined that housing construction and resales were at historic highs, “driven by the desire for more living space, low mortgage rates, and limited supply” and noted that it would continue to monitor the potential risks associated with the rapid rise in house prices.”

Policy measures

The BoC’s Governing Council noted that there remains considerable excess capacity in the Canadian economy, and that the recovery continues to require “extraordinary monetary policy support.”

Accordingly, the Bank said it remains committed to holding its policy interest rate at what it calls the effective lower bound until economic slack is absorbed and its 2% inflation target is “sustainably achieved.” This may happen sometime in the second half of 2022.

As well, the Bank reiterated that it would continue its Quantitative Easing program – at a target pace of $3 billion per week – to keep interest rates low across the yield curve. It also added that: “Decisions regarding adjustments to the pace of net bond purchases will be guided by Governing Council’s ongoing assessment of the strength and durability of the recovery. We will continue to provide the appropriate degree of monetary policy stimulus to support the recovery and achieve the inflation objective.”

The bottom line

Today’s announcement falls under the heading no news is good news. The benchmark rate is unchanged, the economic recovery appears to be unfolding largely as expected and bond buying activity will continue to provide monetary policy support in the near term.

All of this suggests now is a good time to borrow but also with a view toward developing mid to long-term financing strategies that will address future conditions including the potential for policy interest rate increases next year. First National is here to help.

Published by: First National

10 Steps to Home Sweet Home

General Raymond Walia 3 Jun

Congratulations! There is nothing more exciting than moving into a new home. Whether a new building or re-sale property, there are a few things you can do as soon as you take possession in order to make it your own. Invest a weekend or two into warming up a featureless space or refreshing someone else’s old homestead.

Here are 10 things you can do to really own your new space and turn it into home sweet home:

  1. Change The Locks: Secure your home by changing the locks as soon as you take possession. Even DIY beginners can change a deadbolt lock. A replacement deadbolt set can be installed in place of the current lock with just a screwdriver— no drilling required. Another option is to rekey the lock. Purchase a rekeying set from the same manufacturer as the existing door lock, and reset it for a new key
  1. Consider a Professional Deep Cleaning: Hiring a professional cleaner to deep-clean and detail your home before you move your possessions in can make your new home feel that much more YOU! It will be easier without any furniture to work around, allowing them to access to every nook and cranny. Yes, you’ll have to clean again after moving day, but the heavy lifting will have already been done!
  1. Clean Out Your Pipes: Years of dust, pet dander and detritus collect in the hidden workings of any home. One of the most effective ways to refresh a new home is to get right into the guts of it! Have your ducts, furnace and air conditioning unit professionally cleaned and be sure to change the filters as required to maintain that clean, fresh air.
  1. Apply a Coat of Paint: Painting provides the most bang for your home-improvement buck! Whether the walls of your home are dingy or you’re simply not feeling the magic of beige, it only takes a few hours to repaint your space with a colour that makes you feel at home.
  1. Freshen Up Your Floors: Much like worn-out walls, old floors can really put a damper on that new-home buzz. If your hardwood has seen better days, you can consider hiring professionals to re-do it or tackle the project yourself by renting a floor sander and varnishing over a weekend. For carpet, a deep steam clean can do wonders! For laminate, you can get that extra shine with a special laminate floor cleaner. Although if any of your floor coverings are lifting or have holes in them, you may want to replace it. You can further personalize your new space by adding floor runners or area rugs!
  1. Neutralize Odors: Any re-sale home can benefit from a deep-clean refresh to eliminate any lingering odors from previous tenants. While some of the above steps will dramatically reduce any lingering smells, stubborn aromas require spot treatments such as:
  • Putting dishes of activated charcoal (also known as activated carbon) in a musty, damp basement. These can be found at aquarium stores.
  • Running a dehumidifier during the spring and summer.
  • Placing a sock filled with dry coffee grounds or baking soda in closets, refrigerators or freezers to absorb stale odors.
  • Pouring white vinegar down a stinky drain.
  1. Enjoy the View! Dirty windows and screens can make rooms feel dark and dingy. A thorough cleaning will have your windows shining, and your indoors will feel brighter and fresher too. If your home came with the previous owner’s window coverings, be sure to clean or launder them; it’ll remove allergens as well as reduce any lingering odours. Or consider replacements with colors and patterns more suited to your style!
  1. Lighten Up! A well-lit home is immediately warmer and more inviting than its darker counterparts. If your rooms feel dim, replace the existing bulbs with bright, energy-saving LED or CFL bulbs for more light and cost-savings! Dated lighting fixtures can also foil your redecorating efforts, so consider replacing them with something more your style.
  1. Time for a Switch: Replacing your switch plates only requires a screwdriver but you would be surprised how much swapping out old lighting switch plates can refresh your space. With a little DIY expertise, screwdrivers, pliers and a voltage tester, you can install energy saving dimmer switches instead.
  1. Display Your Art: Once you have deep-cleaned your new home and organized it to your heart’s content, it is time to dress up your walls with your favourite artwork and family photos! Get your kids’ kindergarten masterpieces onto the fridge and deck out your mantel with family photos.

Moving into a new home is one of the best times to make your space perfect for you! With a clean slate and empty floor space, now is the time to include all the things that make your house a home – to you! Unpack your knick-knacks and personal items and add a splash of color with throw pillows or rugs to brighten things up.

Published by DLC