The Bank of Canada building is pictured in Ottawa on September 6, 2011. File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS

Bank of Canada cautious of future rate hikes

The Bank of Canada remains cautious on future rate hikes due to low- inflation risk

The Bank of Canada remains cautious about future rate hikes as it measures the risk posed by low inflation that continues to fall short of the central bank’s two per cent target, senior deputy governor Carolyn Wilkins said Wednesday.

“Just three weeks ago, the bank decided to leave the policy rate unchanged. We said at the time that while less monetary policy stimulus will likely be required over time, governing council will be cautious in making future adjustments to the policy rate,” Wilkins said in remarks made in New York.

“One of the motivations for caution is that inflation has been in the lower end of the inflation target bands of one to three per cent for quite some time.”

Inflation in Canada slowed over the first half of this year and remained in the lower half of the Bank of Canada’s target range even as the economy grew quickly.

Caution, however, has its limits in times of uncertainty, Wilkins added, including those related to monetary policy and financial stability.

“Whether it is about how aggressive or how cautious policy should be — getting the dosage right demands sound judgment about complex trade-offs,” she said.

“And, like many businesses and households, central banks have established techniques to reduce, where possible, the level of uncertainty they experience.”

Speaking before the Money Marketeers of New York University, Wilkins said the central bank is particularly focused on data that indicate how wages and potential output are progressing, as well as the effects of the two interest rate increases made over the summer. The bank is also following NAFTA negotiations closely.

While higher household debt has likely heightened the sensitivity of spending to interest rate increases, Wilkins said it is difficult at this time to know by how much. There is also uncertainty about the interaction of interest rate increases with the recent tightening of macroprudential rules.

To understand how the bank factors uncertainty into its policy decisions, Wilkins paralleled a scenario involving business people considering large capital expenditures who have the option value of waiting until they are more sure of the returns.

“As with investment, fixed costs of changing policy direction may explain a central bank’s aversion to reversals and motivate a wait-and-see approach to policy,” she said.

That said, she added, it’s unclear how costly policy reversals are for the real economy.

“It is possible that the perceived costs are self-reinforcing because reversals are so rare that they are viewed as policy errors when they do occur, rather than as a sensible reaction to new information.”

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

City reviewing plans for huge Sandstone project in south Nanaimo

Seacliff Properties says it’s been told to be ready for a public hearing this fall

Ferry riders say lower fares are what’s most needed to improve service

Provincial government announces findings of public engagement process

COVID-19 isn’t cancelling this year’s Tour de Rock

Alumni riders will cycle relay sections in their own communities

POLL: Can B.C. hold a provincial election safely during a pandemic?

Can B.C. hold a provincial election safely during a pandemic?… Continue reading

Trail proposed to connect Cedar and Yellow Point

Regional director says project fits with active transportation goals

B.C. or Ontario? Residential school survivors fight move of court battle

It’s now up to Ontario’s Court of Appeal to sort out the venue question

Young B.C. cancer survivor rides 105-km with Terry Fox’s brother

Jacob Bredenhof and Darrell Fox’s cycling trek raises almost $90,000 for cancer research

B.C. migrant, undocumented workers rally for permanent residency program

Rally is part of the Amnesty for Undocumented Workers Campaign led by the Migrant Workers Centre

Preparations underway for pandemic election in Saskatchewan and maybe B.C.

Administrators in B.C. and around the country are also looking to expand voting by mail during the pandemic

Nearly 20 per cent of COVID-19 infections among health-care workers by late July

WHO acknowledged the possibility that COVID-19 might be spread in the air under certain conditions

Nanaimo RCMP community policing needs a few good volunteers

Volunteers needed to help Nanaimo RCMP and city deliver crime prevention and safety programs

Protesters march in Nanaimo, calling for greater protection of forests and watersheds

March for the Forests happened downtown on Friday afternoon

City of Nanaimo begins project planning for multimillion-dollar public works yard upgrades

Councillors vote to reallocate $200,000 to develop architectural concepts and cost estimates

Nanaimo residents ticketed for putting out garbage bins the night before pickup

Conservation officers say they issued seven tickets this week, as warnings weren’t having an impact

Most Read