Bank of Canada holds policy rate at 5% in October
In a scheduled announcement on October 25, 2023, the Bank of Canada decided to maintain its target for the overnight lending rate at 5%.
The Bank cited growing evidence of a slowdown in economic activity due to past interest rate increases, which were also helping to relieve inflation. The Bank noted reduced consumption and resale housing activity as contributing factors to weaker economic activity, but that labour market conditions were still tight. In its Monetary Policy Report, the Bank also highlighted forest fires and the federal public sector strike as weighing on the economy earlier this year. The Bank said it expects economic growth to remain subdued until late 2024, with the Canadian economy set to grow only 0.9% in 2024 compared with 1.2% this year before picking up to 2.5% in 2025.
Given the fluctuations in recent months, the Bank has made note of the volatility in inflation while also citing diverging trends in components of the CPI. While some goods and food inflation has come down, costs relating to shelter are still growing at strong rates and the Bank’s own measure of core inflation is not showing signs of slowing. Although inflation is still expected to return to the Bank’s 2% target in 2025, near-term inflation will be anticipated to run higher due to recent increases in energy prices and other components of core inflation.
The Bank was relieved to see that higher interest rates are having their intended effect on spending and price growth but remains concerned about inflation progressing back to its target range at a slower pace. Although the policy rate was held at 5%, it is still prepared to hike rates further if necessary.
The Bank of Canada’s next scheduled interest rate announcement will be on December 6, 2023. The next Monetary Policy Report will be published on January 24, 2024.