Today, the Bank of Canada increased its overnight benchmark interest rate 25 basis point to 4.50% from 4.25% in December. This is the eighth time since March 2022 that the Bank has tightened money supply to address inflation.
While the headline increase will certainly make news, it is the Bank’s accompanying commentary on its future moves that will capture the most attention. We summarize the Bank’s observations below, including its forward-looking comments on the potential for future rate increases.
- Inflation has declined from 8.1% in June to 6.3% in December, reflecting lower gasoline prices and, more recently, moderating prices for durable goods
- Despite this progress, Canadians are still “feeling the hardship” of high inflation in their essential household expenses, with persistent price increases for food and shelter
- Short-term inflation expectations remain elevated and while year-over-year measures of core inflation are still around 5%, 3-month measures have come down, suggesting that core inflation has “peaked”
Canadian economic and housing market performance
- The Bank estimates Canada’s economy grew by 3.6% in 2022, slightly stronger than was projected in the Bank’s Monetary Policy Report in October, however it projects that growth is expected to “stall through the middle of 2023,” picking up later in the year
- Canadian GDP growth of about 1% is forecast for 2023 and rising to about 2% in 2024, little changed from the Bank’s October outlook
- The economy remains in “excess demand” and the labour market remains “tight” with unemployment near historic lows and businesses reporting ongoing difficulty finding workers
- However, there is “growing evidence” that restrictive monetary policy is slowing activity especially household spending
- Consumption growth has moderated from the first half of 2022 and “housing market activity has declined substantially”
- As the effects of interest rate increases continue to work through the economy, spending on consumer services and business investment is expected to slow
- Weaker foreign demand will likely weigh on Canadian exports
- This overall slowdown in activity will allow supply to “catch up” with demand
Global economic performance and outlook
- The Bank estimates the global economy grew by about 3.5% in 2022, and will slow to about 2% in 2023 and 2.50% in 2024 — a projection that is slightly higher than the Bank’s forecast in October
- Global economic growth is slowing, although it is proving more resilient than was expected at the time of the Bank’s October Monetary Policy Report
- Global inflation remains high and broad-based although inflation is coming down in many countries, largely reflecting lower energy prices as well as improvements in global supply chains
- In the United States and Europe, economies are slowing but proving more resilient than was expected at the time of the Bank’s October Monetary Policy Report
- China’s abrupt lifting of pandemic restrictions has prompted an upward revision to the Bank’s growth forecast for China and “poses an upside risk to commodity prices”
- Russia’s war on Ukraine remains a significant source of uncertainty
- Financial conditions remain restrictive but have eased since October, and the Canadian dollar has been relatively stable against the US dollar
Taking all of these factors into account, the Bank decided today’s policy rate increase was necessary and justified.
However, the Bank also offered this important piece of news: “If economic developments evolve broadly in line with (its) outlook, Governing Council expects to hold the policy rate at its current level while it assesses the impact of the cumulative interest rate increases.”
That sounds positive, but as is customary, the Bank also noted that it is prepared to increase the policy rate further if needed to return inflation to its 2% target. It also added the usual language that it “remains resolute in its commitment to restoring price stability for Canadians.”
Although the Bank did not say it, the bottom line is Canadians will have to wait and see what comes next.
Next touch point
March 8, 2023 is the Bank’s next scheduled policy interest rate announcement and we will be on hand to provide an executive summary the same day.
- The Bank of Canada (BOC) increased interest rates 7 times in 2022. Exactly as expected 16 months ago.
- Inflation is at least 5.7%; and it needs to get down to 3%
- The BoC would rather over-tighten than under-tighten
- Normally it takes 18 to 24 months for interest rate increases to work their way into the economy and we are only about 10 months into this tightening cycle
These 4 painful data points mean Prime will increase from 6.45% to 6.70% on Jan 25th.
We now expect there to be at least 1 or 2 more o.25% increases to Prime before it is expected to hold for the rest of 2023, and then begin to decrease in 2024.
Mortgage Mark Herman, Top Calgary Alberta Mortgage Broker
A lot of the recent talk in financial and real estate circles has been centering on the possibility of a pause in the Bank of Canada’s aggressive interest rate increases. Some speculate that could happen at the next rate setting, later this month, on January 25th.
The Bank raised rates 7 times last year in an effort to rein-in galloping inflation. It does seem to be working, but there are some stubborn sticking points.
Headline inflation, known as the Consumer Price Index (CPI), has dropped. It was 8.1% in July and drifted down to 6.8% in November. However, the drop from October to November was a mere one-tenth of one percentage point and the Bank’s target rate remains significantly below that, at 2.0%.
As well, the BoC’s preferred inflation measure, Core Inflation (which strips out volatile components like food and fuel), actually increased. A simple averaging of the three components that the Bank uses to measure Core Inflation came in at nearly 5.7% in November, up from 5.3% in October.
Other factors that figure into the Bank’s plans include Gross Domestic Product and unemployment. Canada’s GDP continues to grow, albeit modestly, despite rising interest rates. It increased by 0.1%, month-over-month in November. Unemployment dipped 0.1% to 5.0% in December. Both of these tend to fuel higher wages which are a key driver of inflation.
The Bank of Canada, itself, remains firmly dedicated to battling back inflation. Governor Tiff Macklem has said he would rather over-tighten than under-tighten and run the risk of having high inflation linger and become entrenched.
The U.S. central bank has made it clear it plans more rate hikes. Given the integration of the Canadian and American economies, the Bank of Canada does have to pay attention to what its American counterpart does.
The BoC will have new economic data by the time it makes its January 25th announcement. The December numbers will provide a fresh look at how well the inflation fight is going.
Normally it takes 18 to 24 months for interest rate increases to work their way into the economy and we are only about 10 months into this tightening cycle. It is reasonable to expect another 25 basis-point increase on the 25th. Given the Bank’s apparent success so far it also seems reasonable to expect a pause sometime after that.
Looking ahead to a year from now some forecasters say we might start to hear talk of interest rate cuts, which would be welcome news. Cuts would allow the BoC to move toward its, long stated, goal of normalizing rates back into the neutral range of 2.5% to 3.5%. The Bank of Canada, and central banks around the world, have been trying to do that for more than a decade – since the ’08 – ’09 financial collapse.
Bank of Canada increased Consumer Prime to 6.45% – exactly as expected for the last 5 months. January 25th is the next BoC interest rate announcement & I hope it is a 0.25% increase and then holds there for all of 2023. We will see…
Mortgage Mark Herman, Best Calgary mortgage broker with a Master’s degree in Finance.
Today, the Bank of Canada increased its overnight benchmark interest rate 50 basis point to 4.25% from 3.75% in October. This is the 7th time this year that the Bank has addressed inflation and means the policy rate is now as high as it has been in 15 years.
We summarize the Bank’s observations below, including its forward-looking comments on the need/likelihood of future rate increases below:
- CPI inflation remained at 6.9% in October, with many of the goods and services Canadians regularly buy showing large price increases
- Measures of core inflation “remain around 5%”
- Three-month rates of change in core inflation have come down, “an early indicator that price pressures may be losing momentum”
Canadian Economic and housing market performance
- GDP growth in the third quarter was stronger than expected, and the economy continued to operate “in excess demand”
- The labor market remains “tight” with unemployment near historic lows
- While commodity exports have been strong, there is growing evidence that tighter monetary policy is restraining domestic demand: consumption moderated in the third quarter
- Housing market activity continues to decline
- Data since the October Monetary Policy Report supports the Bank’s outlook that growth will essentially stall” through the end of this year and the first half of 2023
Global inflation and economic performance
- Inflation around the world remains high and broadly based
- Global economic growth is slowing, although it is proving more resilient than was expected at the time of the Bank’s October Monetary Policy Report
- In the United States, the economy is weakening but consumption continues to be solid and the labor market remains “overheated”
- The gradual easing of global supply bottlenecks continues, although further progress could be disrupted by geopolitical events
Although the Bank’s commentary noted that price pressures that are driving high inflation may be losing momentum, it went on to say that inflation is “still too high” and that short-term “inflation expectations remain elevated.” In the Bank’s view, the longer that Canadian consumers and businesses expect inflation to be above the Bank’s 2% target, “the greater the risk that elevated inflation becomes entrenched.”
Given these economic signals, the Bank’s Governing Council stated that it “will be considering whether the policy interest rate needs to rise further to bring supply and demand back into balance and return inflation to target.”
It concluded its statement with a familiar refrain: “We are resolute in our commitment to achieving the 2% inflation target and restoring price stability for Canadians.”
Analysts and commentators will seek to interpret those outlook comments for signs that the Bank has reached or believes it is close to reaching the terminal point in its current rate-hike cycle. For now, that remains a question of debate and speculation that will turn on future economic signals.
January 25th is the next BoC interest rate announcement. I hope it is a 0.25% increase and then holds there for all of 2023. We will see…
Today, the Bank of Canada showed once again that it is seriously concerned about inflation by raising its overnight benchmark rate to 1.50% – making Consumer Prime 3.70%
Says Mortgage Mark Herman, top Calgary Alberta Mortgage Broker.
With interest rates now on the rise, 2 Questions: How much? & How fast?
- Rates are up by 1.45% on the Variable already (Prime was 1.75% and is now 3.2%)
- There HAS BEEN a 1 x .25% increase and 1 x .5% increase so far = .75% so far
- Expected increases are 1 x .5% or .75%, and 1 x .25% still to come.
- so expect Prime to get to 3.95% from 3.20% today, April 25th.
- Insured variable rates are at Prime – 0.95% = 3.2 – .95% = 2.25% today
- and they are expected to increase to 3.95% – .95% = 3.00% and then hold and decrease in the Fall of 2022.
- these rates are lower than the current 5-year fixed rates of about 4% and are expected to come down in the Fall, 2022.
Traditionally the Bank of Canada has used 0.25% as the standard increment for any interest rate move up, or down. Occasionally the Bank will move its trendsetting Policy Rate by .50%, as it did at its last setting on April 13.
The last time the central bank boosted the, so-called, overnight rate by ½% was 20 years ago. Now the Bank seems to be laying the ground work for an even bigger increase of .75% at its next setting in June. There has not been a three-quarter point increase since the late 1990s.
Inflation remains the key concern for the BoC. In March the inflation rate hit 6.7%, a 30-year high. The central bank wants to see inflation at around 2.0%. But it does not expect that to happen until sometime late next year.
Bank of Canada Governor will “not rule anything out” when it comes to interest rates and taming inflation. “We’re prepared to be as forceful as needed and I’m really going to let those words speak for themselves.”
While higher inflation was not unexpected as the economy recovered from the pandemic, it is lingering longer than anticipated. The Bank says this is largely due to:
- on-going waves of COVID-19, particularly in China, that have disrupted manufacturing and the supply chain;
- the Russian invasion of Ukraine; and
- spending fuelled by those rock-bottom interest rates that were designed to keep the economy moving during the pandemic.
The Bank is thought to be aiming for a Policy Rate of between 2% and 3%. That is considered a “neutral” rate that neither stimulates nor restrains the economy.
At the current pace, that could be reached by the fall of 2022.
Its true! This thing called Basel 3 will make it harder to get an investment mortgage in 2023!
Lots of junk below, the short version is:
Canadian banks will need to apply more risk to investor mortgages and to lower that risk they may:
- Increase the down payment needed from 20% to a higher amount … maybe 25% or 30%
- Lend to fewer investors – which already make up 25% to 30% of the Canadian market.
- New Zealand already started 40% down payment for investment properties!
“Avoid the new rules by buying your investment property in 2022!
Mortgage Mark Herman, top Calgary, Alberta mortgage broker.”
DETAILS: Canadian Bank Regulator Confirms Investor Mortgage Reduction Coming Next Year
Canadian real estate investors are about to face higher hurdles to enter the market. The Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI), Canada’s bank regulator, confirmed new rules being rolled out in Q2 2023. The rules are a part of international Basel III guidelines, designed to reduce risk in the system. One critical change for real estate will be raising the risk weight for investor mortgages. This will reduce their leverage, which OSFI cites as a key response to housing risk. It’s still early, but here’s what we could dig up.
The Basel Trilogy and Global Financial Risk Reduction
The Basel reforms are a global set of measures for prudential bank regulation. They were developed by the Basel Committee On Banking Supervision (BCBS). The BCBS is a 45-country group hosted by the Bank of International Settlements (BIS). The BIS is often called, “the central bank for central banks.” It’s also jokingly called the “final boss” by Bitcoin investors.
We know, it’s a lot of banking jargon and acronyms, but what they do is straightforward. Their job is creating non-partisan risk reduction standards for the global financial system. Since the world’s financial system is now interdependent, problems spill across borders. They stepped up their game after a housing bubble in the US caused a global financial crisis (GFC).
The Basel Accords are a trilogy of policy where the common goals were set. The original happened before many of you were born (1988), but Basel II and III occur after the 2007-2008 GFC. No, circle back. GFC doesn’t stand for Gesus F*cking Christ, we just explained it’s the Global Financial Crisis. We’re also worried about your spelling skills.
The Second Accord primarily addressed minimum capital adequacy requirements. In other words, how much financial institutions had on hand compared to what they lend. Basel III was held in 2010, and mostly just improves the recognition of risk.
A good chunk of BASEL III reforms have already been implemented. Increasing Common Equity Tier 1 (CET) to 4.5% of risk-weighted assets (RWAs) from 2% in BASEL II, is one example. It happened in 2015 and almost no one heard a sound. The measures have been gradually introduced to create as little noise as possible. Though real estate investors might make some noise with the next update.
Basel III Will Land In Q2 2023, and It Will Lower Investor Mortgage Leverage
Basel III will increase the capital requirements for investor mortgages. “as part of the domestic implementation of Basel 3 reform package” in banks’ fiscal Q2-2023, we are increasing the risk weights, and thus capital required, for investor mortgages compared to the risk weights for owner-occupied properties,” said OSFI this morning.
That only tells us a reduction in leverage by Q2 2023 is coming, but not how much. OSFI said they’ll get back to us with what that means for down payments soon. We’ll update as soon as they do, but in the meantime we can get an idea of what we’re in for, from Basel III guidelines.
New standardized credit risk assigns a 30% risk weight to residential real estate. Next year income producing properties with a loan-to-value between 60% and 80% will have a risk weight of 45%. A bank will assume 50% more risk weight for an investor mortgage than an owner occupied home. i.e. owner-occupied mortgages with 20% down have similar risk to investor mortgages with 30% down.
There’s no direct translation of how that’s mitigated. They could want 10 points more for a mortgage, or they can offset risk in various other ways. Raising the risk premium on interest or lending less would be two methods to deal with it. None of those are particularly great for investors, now between 25% and 30% of home sales in Canada. It will slow demand though, which is probably needed.
Raising the down payment is already occurring in other countries like New Zealand. Last year the country increased the minimum downpayment for investors to 40% of the value. Mortgage Professionals Canada (MPC) recently suggested a similar arrangement for Canada. Yup! The organization that represents mortgage brokers suggested it as just a cooling measure. Not even a Basel III mitigation.
The Federal Government has yet to address the issue, probably since most don’t know it’s coming. That means we don’t know if they’ll help reduce the leverage for political points or it’ll come from the banks. One thing’s for sure though — it’s coming next year.
- Prime did not change today, Jan 26, and the Bank of Canada (BoC) clearly said they are planning on starting the needed rate increases at the next meeting in 6 weeks, on Wednesday March 2nd.
- The Market has “priced in” between 4 and 6 increases in 2022, each by .25%, and between 2 and 4 increases in 2023, each by .25%
- There may be fewer increases if inflation returns to the target of 2% from today’s 40 year high of about 5%.
- The USA is seeing record 7% inflation and Canada usually gets dragged along with the US numbers so that balances the possibility of fewer increases.
- Mortgage Strategy – secure a fully underwritten, pre-approval, with a 120- day rate hold, from a person, not an online “60-second-mortgage-app” as soon as you think you may be buying in the next 2 years.
- To start a mortgage application with us, click here, and we will call you with in 24-hours to get things going.
This morning in its first scheduled policy decision of 2022, the Bank of Canada left its target overnight benchmark rate unchanged at what it describes as its “lower bound” of 0.25%. As a result, the Bank Rate stays at 0.5% and the knock-on effect is that borrowing costs for Canadians will remain low for the time being.
The Bank also updated its observations on the state of the economy, both in Canada and globally, leaving a strong impression that rates will rise this year.
More specifically, the Bank said that its Governing Council has decided to end its extraordinary commitment to hold its policy rate at the effective lower bound and that looking ahead, it expects “… interest rates will need to increase, with the timing and pace of those increases guided by the Bank’s commitment to achieving” its 2% inflation target.
These are the other highlights of today’s BoC announcement.
- The economy entered 2022 with considerable momentum, and a broad set of measures are now indicating that economic slack is absorbed
- With strong employment growth, the labour market has tightened significantly with elevated job vacancies, strong hiring intentions, and a pick up in wage gains
- Elevated housing market activity continues to put upward pressure on house prices
- Omicron is “weighing on activity in the first quarter” and while its economic impact will depend on how quickly this wave passes, the impact is expected to be less severe than previous waves
- Economic growth is then expected to bounce back and remain robust over the Bank’s “projection horizon,” led by consumer spending on services, and supported by strength in exports and business investment
- After GDP growth of 4.5% in 2021, the Bank expects Canada’s economy to grow by 4% in 2022 and about 3.5% in 2023
- CPI inflation remains “well above” the Bank’s target range and core measures of inflation have edged up since October
- Persistent supply constraints are feeding through to a broader range of goods prices and, combined with higher food and energy prices, are expected to keep CPI inflation close to 5% in the first half of 2022
- As supply shortages diminish, inflation is expected to decline “reasonably quickly” to about 3% by the end of 2022 and then “gradually ease” towards the Bank’s target over the projection period
- Near-term inflation expectations have moved up, but longer-run expectations remain anchored on the 2% target
- The Bank will use its monetary policy tools to ensure that higher near-term inflation expectations do not become embedded in ongoing inflation
- The recovery is strong but uneven with the US economy “growing robustly” while growth in some other regions appears more moderate, especially in China due to current weakness in its property sector
- Strong global demand for goods combined with supply bottlenecks that hinder production and transportation are pushing up inflation in most regions
- Oil prices have rebounded to well above pre-pandemic levels following a decline at the onset of the Omicron variant of COVID-19
- Financial conditions remain broadly accommodative but have tightened with growing expectations that monetary policy will normalize sooner than was anticipated, and with rising geopolitical tensions
- Overall, the Bank projects global GDP growth to moderate from 6.75% in 2021 to about 3.5% in 2022 and 2023
January Monetary Policy Report
The key messages found in the BoC’s Monetary Policy Report published today were consistent with the highlights noted above:
- A wide range of measures and indicators suggest that economic slack is now absorbed and estimates of the output gap are consistent with this evidence
- Public health measures and widespread worker absences related to the Omicron variant are slowing economic activity in the first quarter of 2022, but the economic impact is expected to be less severe than previous waves
- The impacts from global and domestic supply disruptions are currently exerting upward pressure on prices
- Inflationary pressures from strong demand, supply shortages and high energy prices should subside during the year
- Over the medium term, increased productivity is expected to boost supply growth, and demand growth is projected to moderate with inflation expected to decline gradually through 2023 and 2024 to close to 2%
- The Bank views the risks around this inflation outlook as roughly balanced, however, with inflation above the top of the Bank’s inflation-control range and expected to stay there for some time, the upside risks are of greater concern
The Bank intends to keep its holdings of Government of Canada bonds on its balance sheet roughly constant “at least until” it begins to raise its policy interest rate. At that time, the BoC’s Governing Council will consider exiting what it calls its “reinvestment phase” and reducing the size of its balance sheet. It will do so by allowing the roll-off of maturing Government of Canada bonds.
While the Bank acknowledges that COVID-19 continues to affect economic activity unevenly across sectors, the Governing Council believes that overall slack in the economy is now absorbed, “thus satisfying the condition outlined in the Bank’s forward guidance on its policy interest rate” and setting the stage for increases in 2022.
Mortgage Rate Holds are the theme for buyers in 2022
Mortgage Mark Herman, your friendly Calgary Alberta mortgage broker & New Buyer Specialist.
Best answer I have seen yet is below … it still makes the 5-year fixed the better option right now (for most people)Mortgage Mark Herman, Top Calgary Mortgage Broker
The latest significant news was good, but modest. Canada’s unemployment rate dipped to 7.5% with the creation of 94,000 jobs in July. Most of those are full-time and in the private sector.
Employment levels are linked to inflation, which is a key factor watched by the Bank of Canada in setting interest rate policy which, in turn, can affect mortgage rates.
As the labour market tightens up, employers tend to offer higher wages to attract workers. That increases the cost of producing goods and services, driving inflation. As well, as more people get work and earn more money demand for goods and services increases. If that demand outpaces supply, inflation can also result.
Canada finds itself in this position now. Inflation is running high chiefly because of supply constraints caused by the pandemic. At the same time, more and more people are heading back to work.
That has some analysts forecasting the Bank of Canada will be raising rates to calm inflation. The Bank, however, has been saying otherwise.
It is also useful to watch what is happening in the United States. The two economies are tightly linked and actions in the U.S. can offer useful clues about what will happen here.
In its latest assessment of the American economy the U.S. Federal Reserve continued to down play inflation – which is running high there as well – as “transitory”. The Fed continues to look to the second half of 2023 as the most likely time for any possible rate hikes. While the Bank of Canada has said it expects rates could start rising as much as a year sooner than that, it would be unusual for the BoC to move before the Fed.
- 5 Year fixed are going up and never getting back down to where they are now.
- Variables are also great – right now they are Prime – 1% or 2.45% – 1% = 1.45%, and as below, should stay there until 2023! Almost 20 more months!
Both of these are awesome options right now.Mortgage Mark Herman, Top Calgary Alberta mortgage broker for 1st time home buyers
Bond traders believe inflation is going to be rising over the coming months and have been demanding increased bond yields. That has led to increasing interest rates for bonds and, consequently, increasing rates for the fixed-rate mortgages that are funded by those bonds.
The traders say the COVID-19 vaccine rollout and plans for vast infrastructure spending – particularly in the U.S. – are boosting expectations of a broad recovery and an increase in inflation. Better than expected GDP growth in Canada and shrinking unemployment in the U.S. would tend to support those expectations.
This, however, puts the traders at odds with the central banks in both Canada and the United States.
The Bank of Canada and the U.S. Federal Reserve also expect inflation will climb as the pandemic fades and the economy reopens. There is a pent-up demand for goods and services, after all. The central banks see that as transitory, though, and appear to be looking past it. The U.S. Fed has gone so far as to alter its inflation target from 2% to an average of 2%, over time, thereby rolling any post-pandemic spikes into the bigger, longer-term calculations.
The Bank of Canada and the Fed have committed to keeping interest rates low, probably through 2023. Both say inflation will have to be sustained before interest rate moves are made to contain it. The integrated nature of the Canadian and American economies means it is unlikely the BoC will move on interest rates before the U.S. Fed.
This is a most interesting info graphic
You don’t need to be an expert to understand what economic bubbles are and how they happen. The simplest definition is the rapid and unrealistic inflation of asset prices without any basis in the intrinsic value of the given asset.
Despite the fact that financial bubbles (also known as speculative bubbles) are not rare, people repeatedly fail to recognize speculative trading as it’s happening. Too often, those involved only identify these risky activities in the autopsy. Once the bubble bursts, it’s already too late.
One of the crucial reasons for this is that bubbles are often driven by strong emotions, blurring people’s ability to make rational decisions. When gung-ho traders who are willing to take huge risks start operating in that environment, you have a recipe for disaster.
Investors’ greed (believing that someone will pay more for something than they paid themselves) is accompanied by strong feelings of euphoria (“wow, this investment will be so profitable, let’s buy!”), but also anxiety. Buyers go into denial when prices start to fall (“this is just a temporary reversal, my investment is long-term”). Then, finally, panic sets in, causing a domino effect: everyone starts to sell, ultimately leading to a crash.
A bubble burst can have a devastating effect on the economy, even on a global scale. The most recent example is the Great Recession after the market crash in 2008. However, depending on the economic sector or industry, bubbles can also have some positive effects.
Just consider the dot-com bubble, which forced the information technology industry to consolidate. Although people lost a lot of capital at the time, that money has since been invested many times over in infrastructure, software, servers, and databases. Pretty much every American house and business is now connected to the internet, which has changed how we live and work for good.
The best way to prevent an asset bubble from happening is strategic, common-sense investing. Unfortunately, humans don’t always act sensibly. Bearing that in mind, chances are economic bubbles will continue to occur in the future.
To help you notice these patterns early, we at Fortunly have created an infographic detailing how some of the biggest financial bubbles in history have formed and then burst. Check it out to make sure you don’t fall victim to the hype of “the next big thing.”
Very coolMark Herman, Best Calgary Alberta Mortgage Broker