BoC Decision: Pleasantville for Variable Mortgagors
Posted on Jan 24, 2014 in Mortgage Market Updates and NewsRob McLister
Today’s Bank of Canada (BoC) interest rate decision was reassuring for variable-rate borrowers.
•The Bank announced that Canada’s key lending rate will remain just 75 basis points above its all-time low.
•The Bank suggested its next move is just as likely to be a rate cut as a rate hike.
•It said the risk of falling inflation “has grown in importance” and that inflation won’t rise back to its target for “about two years” (suggesting even less chance of a prime rate increase through 2015).
Even if inflation does return to its 2% target, that alone isn’t enough reason for the Bank to raise rates.
So essentially, it’s Pleasantville right now for variable-rate borrowers, with no hikes in sight.
In terms of what it would take for the BoC to actually lower rates, it would likely need at least 2-3 more months of weak economic data (be it falling exports, business investment, inflation or employment).
Fixed income traders believe that could happen. They’re now betting more heavily on a rate cut by October than a rate hike or no change combined. That reflects a key change in market-wide rate expectations over the last month.
Economists, as is often the case, have a different opinion. Those polled by Reuters expect the next rate move to be an increase in mid-2015. (Source: Globe and Mail)
Bond traders took today’s news in stride. The key 5-year yield (which influences fixed mortgage rates) was mostly unchanged, while the loonie dove to a 4-year low.
The next Bank of Canada rate meeting is March 5.
•"It's probably as dovish as they could go without adopting an outright easing bias."—David Tulk, TD Securities (BNN)
•“The economy is fragile because it relies highly on just one thing…housing.”—BoC head Stephen Poloz (BNN)
•“…Interest rates…will need to stay low longer than we thought…”— Stephen Poloz Rob McLister, CMT