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Bank of Canada holds rate, drops bias for future hikes as economy stalls

By Kevin Carmichael for Financial Post

Canadian interest rates are almost certainly on hold until at least sometime next year.

The Bank of Canada published a revised outlook on April 24 that shows the economy essentially stalled over the last six months, extinguishing the sparks that had caused policy makers to starting worrying about inflation.

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Stephen Poloz, the governor, and his deputies left the benchmark rate unchanged at 1.75 per cent, as expected. They also erased from their policy discussion any suggestion that interest rates could rise in the foreseeable future, a pivot that suggests the pause that began in December is now a hiatus.

“Governing Council judges that an accommodative policy interest rate continues to be warranted,” the new policy statement says. “We will continue to evaluate the appropriate degree of monetary policy accommodation as new data arrive.”

Canada’s economy was cruising at the start of the last year when a plunge in oil prices, higher interest rates, and U.S. President Donald Trump’s trade wars converged to create a torrent of headwinds.

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