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Bank of Canada holds rates: Navigating Economic signals

Bank of Canada holds rates

The Bank of Canada's recent decision to maintain its policy rate at 5.00% and continue with quantitative tightening aligns with the anticipated trajectory (January 24, 2024). The central message conveyed in this decision revolves around the Bank's observation of evident indicators suggesting that heightened interest rates are curbing expenditures and alleviating inflationary pressures.

Despite these positive developments, the Bank acknowledges a slower-than-desired progress in steering inflation towards the target, with core inflation displaying a resilience that surpasses initial expectations.

The Bank of Canada underscores several factors as pivotal considerations that could prompt a policy rate hike if deemed necessary. These factors include robust wage growth, inflation expectations, corporate pricing behaviors, and sustained momentum in core inflation measures.

This emphasis implies that while the Bank may have concluded its current tightening of monetary policy, it remains hesitant to declare a definitive victory in its battle against inflation. The focal point now shifts towards gauging the duration for which interest rates must stay elevated to accomplish its inflationary objectives.

In our analysis, it appears that the Bank of Canada is inclined to uphold the current stance until the late spring to mid-year, anticipating a potential window for a rate cut to emerge. The likelihood of a policy rate reduction is contingent on inflation being consistently below 3%.

This implies that the Bank will likely wait until its preferred core inflation measures and their momentums reach or dip below the 2.5% threshold, a scenario not anticipated until May 2024. However, the prospect of a markedly weaker economy in 2024 poses a risk that could expedite the Bank's decision-making.

The distinction between a hard or soft landing in 2024 hinges on whether there is an underperformance in hiring or an escalation in job losses. This uncertainty underscores the delicate balance the Bank of Canada must navigate in the coming months.

In conclusion, the Bank of Canada's decision to maintain its policy rate reflects a cautious approach amid positive signs of moderating spending. While acknowledging progress in reducing inflationary pressures, the central bank remains watchful and emphasizes key factors that could warrant future rate adjustments.

The communicated tone suggests a temporary pause in tightening, with attention shifting to the duration of elevated interest rates needed to achieve inflation targets. Our analysis anticipates the Bank to maintain the current stance until late spring to mid-year, with a potential opportunity for a rate cut if inflation remains consistently below 3%, expected around May 2024.

The looming risk of a weaker economy in 2024 adds uncertainty, with potential implications for policy decisions. As the Bank of Canada navigates this complex economic landscape, the challenge lies in striking a balance between achieving objectives and adapting to evolving conditions. The coming months will be pivotal in determining the effectiveness of the Bank's strategy in a dynamic economic environment.

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USD/CAD, H4 chart, MetaTrader, 24.01.2024


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