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Housing returns as economic driver

The Bank of Canada has, once again, held the line on interest rates. For the sixth consecutive setting the benchmark, overnight rate remains at 1.75% and the bank continues to signal it is in no hurry to make any changes, up or down.

The rate announcement was no surprise but the quarterly Monetary Policy Report provided some deeper insights about the bank’s thinking.

The bank has made a number of adjustments to its growth forecasts and housing has re-emerged as an economic driver. A “material decline” in interest rates, stabilizing markets (particularly in Toronto and Vancouver) and continued job and wage growth are cited as key positives for housing.

The bank’s main concern continues to be global trade tensions. Acrimony between China and the United States has rippled through economies around the world. Chinese moves against Canadian canola and meat are having direct, negative effects here.

None the less growth and inflation continue to satisfy the Bank of Canada and despite the growing likelihood of a rate cut in the U.S. no movement is expected here. BoC senior deputy governor Carolyn Wilkins explains that the Canadian and American economies are at two different points in the cycle.

“The U.S. is slowing to a more sustainable pace while Canada is moving back up to its trend growth,” said Wilkins.