(Canada Press)

Update: Bank of Canada holds interest rate at 1.75%

Dip in monthly GDP and lower-than-expected oil prices have dampened growth expectations

Update: 7:15 a.m.

The Bank of Canada left its interest rate unchanged today and says the timing of future hikes will depend on factors such as how long the oil-price slump lasts, how well business investment picks up its pace and how much room the economy still has left to grow.

The central bank is holding its trend-setting rate at 1.75 per cent in a decision that follows a quarter-point increase at its previous policy meeting in October.

The bank has been on a gradual rate-hiking path for more than a year thanks to a strengthening economy and has already raised the benchmark five times since the summer of 2017.

The bank says it will keep a close eye on the evolution of several recent developments as it considers the timing of its next rate hike — including a steep slide in oil prices that it predicts will reduce activity in Canada’s energy sector.

It also says recent data show that the economy has less momentum heading into the final quarter of 2018 related to factors such as a drop in business investment that the bank largely connects to trade uncertainty last summer.

The bank also notes it will be watching for positive developments such as signs the economy can still expand without stoking inflation.

The central bank can raise the interest rate to prevent inflation from climbing too high. Many market watchers had expected governor Stephen Poloz to wait until at least January before his next rate increase.

The Bank of Canada has estimated it will no longer need to increase the interest rate once it reaches a level of between 2.5 per cent and 3.5 per cent, but Poloz has said this destination range remains “sufficiently uncertain” and could move up or down.

Read more: Higher interest rates to hit younger, middle-income households

—-

Original:

The Bank of Canada is widely expected to leave its benchmark interest rate unchanged at 1.75 per cent today after a 25-basis-point increase at its last setting in October.

This morning’s announcement comes in the wake of a move by the Alberta government to curtail oil production in the province after Jan. 1 to try to clear a crude storage glut that has driven western Canadian oil prices to multi-year lows.

RELATED: Bank of Canada holds interest rate at 1.5 per cent in September

Meanwhile, the recently announced plan to close the General Motors of Canada car plant in Oshawa, Ont., similarly offers a downside risk to future growth.

Bank economists say an unexpected dip in monthly gross domestic product figures in September and lower-than-expected oil prices so far in the fourth quarter have dampened growth expectations and placed in doubt forecasts for a January bank rate increase.

Lower growth prospects are expected to reinforce Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz’s strategy of moving very gradually on increases to its overnight rate.

Economists say they will be closely watching Poloz’s speech on Thursday for signs of how events are affecting his view of the path forward.

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

Ktunaxa, supporters celebrate protection of Qat’muk and the Jumbo valley

Speeches, acknowledgements and ceremonies mark an emotional gathering in Cranbrook

FedEx distribution centre coming to Castlegar

Development permit for ground facility before council next week.

Jumbo Valley to be protected, ending decades-long dispute over proposed ski resort

Development rights permanently retired for site of proposed year-round ski resort west of Invermere

Castlegar fire chief asking residents to clear hydrants buried in snow

A visible fire hydrant will save precious time in case of an emergency.

After cashing in on QB gambles, Chiefs and 49ers to clash in Super Bowl

KC beats Tennessee, San Francisco dispatches Green Bay to reach NFL title game

B.C. VIEWS: Few clouds on Horgan’s horizon

Horgan’s biggest challenge in the remainder of his term will be to keep the economy humming along

Victoria family focuses on ‘letting go, enjoying time together’ after dad gets dementia

Walter Strauss has developed an interest in music and now takes line dancing classes

B.C. forest industry grasps for hope amid seven-month strike, shutdowns, changes

Some experts say this could be worse for forestry than the 2008 financial crisis

Northern B.C. RCMP investigating alleged sexual assault in downtown Smithers

One person was transported by ambulance to hospital following RCMP investigation at Sedaz

UBC, Iranian-Canadian community create memorial scholarship in honour of victims

The Jan. 8 crash killed 176 people, including 57 Canadians

Disrespectful that Horgan won’t meet during northern B.C. tour: hereditary chief

Na’moks said he was frustrated Horgan didn’t meet with the chiefs

Most Read