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Bank of Canada takes a holiday from rate increases

The Bank of Canada gets one more chance to raise interest rates before the end of the year but market watchers are betting against a Christmas increase.

The October inflation numbers, which came in above expectations, would normally be seen as green light for the Bank to go ahead with another quarter-point increase. Headline inflation for October came in at 2.4%, with analysts having called for a flat reading of 2.2%.

However, core inflation – which is what the central bank really cares about – came in pretty much on target, at 2%, across all three of the measurements used by the Bank. The core inflation calculations strip out volatile items like food and fuel to give a truer picture of the underlying economy.

In an example of how interrelated the components of our economy are, market watchers – and the BoC – are also keeping a very close eye of the price of oil. Canada’s benchmark crude price has been taking a serious hit lately, selling at less than US$20 a barrel (U.S. benchmark crude is selling for more than US$40 a barrel.)

The plunge in oil prices is expected to take a significant bite out of November’s inflation numbers and the Bank of Canada is expected to wait for better stability in the market before imposing any more rate increases.

Look to January for the next move.