Bank of Canada increases policy interest rate by 25 basis points, continues quantitative tightening
The Bank of Canada today increased its target for the overnight rate to 4%, with the Bank Rate at 4% and the deposit rate at 4%. The Bank is also continuing its policy of quantitative tightening.
Global inflation remains high and broad-based. 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 Banks October Monetary Policy Report (MPR). Chinas abrupt lifting of COVID-19 restrictions has prompted an upward revision to the growth forecast for China and poses an upside risk to commodity prices. Russias 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.
The Bank estimates the global economy grew by about 3% in 2022, and will slow to about 2% in 2023 and 2% in 2024. This projection is slightly higher than Octobers.
In Canada, recent economic growth has been stronger than expected and the economy remains in excess demand. Labour markets are still tight: the unemployment rate is near historic lows and businesses are 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 are expected to slow. Meanwhile, weaker foreign demand will likely weigh on exports. This overall slowdown in activity will allow supply to catch up with demand.
Central Bank Raises Rates As Mortgage Arrears Also Rise!
The Bank of Canada announced a 25 basis-point (Bps) Overnight Rate increase this morning bringing the Banks Target Rate to 4.75%. The bank also announced that will continue its policy of quantitative tightening.
Tiff Macklem, Governor of the Bank of Canada, stated that Global inflation remains high and broad-based. Although inflation is dropping in many countries primarily due to lower energy prices and improvements to global supply chain, Chinas abrupt lifting of Covis restrictions poses a risk to commodity prices and the war in Ukraine continues to generate uncertainty.
In Canada, economic growth has been stronger than expected and the economy remains in excess of demand. However, there is growing evidence that restrictive monetary policy is slowing activity. As the effects of interest rate increases continue to work through the economy, spending on consumer services and business investment are expected to slow. Meanwhile, weaker foreign demand will likely weigh on exports. The overall slowdown in activity will allow supply to catch up with demand.
In conjunction with the Bank of Canadas Rate Announcement, the central bank also released its Quarterly Monetary Policy Report that outlines inflation being projected to fall around 3% in the middle of 2023 and reach the targeted 2% in 2024. A decrease rate that will generate a bumpy ride for consumers throughout 2023.
The Bank of Canadas Media Release
Monetary Policy Report January 2023
According to Ben Rabidoux of Edge Realty Analytics and author of the latest Housing and Mortgage Report done for Mortgage Professionals Canada, mortgage arrears is a lagging indicator that tells us more about how consumers were faring 9-12 months ago than it does about the near future. But, Canadas National Arrears Rate experienced an uptick from its all-time low back in October 2022. According to data from the Canadian Bankers Association, mortgage payments that are behind 3 months or more, rose to 0.15% from 0.14% where it was since June 2022. That seems to be a very small percentage but the 0.01% increase represents just over 7,400 mortgages in arrears out of a total of over 5.1 million.
The numbers do tell us households are likely going into potential recession in a better position than during other turndowns, according to Ben.
Sources: Bank of Canada, Canadian Mortgage Trends Mortgage Professionals Canada
Slight increase in home sales in December
On a seasonally adjusted basis, home sales increased 1.3% from November to December, a second monthly gain in ten months. Despite this relative stabilization of the market in December, sales were still down 37.8% from their February 2022 level.
New listings were down 6.4% from November to December, a fifth contraction in six months which shows that both buyers and sellers remain on the sidelines in the current market environment.
It should also be noted there is still a high proportion of sellers who are changing their minds, as we estimate that about one in five listings are withdrawn during the month.
The low level of sales is still allowing supply to rebuild, with the number of months of inventory increasing from 4.1 to 4.2 in December.
While easing, market conditions are still pointing in the direction of a favourable to sellers market with supply still very low on a historical basis.
Housing starts fell 14.4K in December to a 9-month low of 248.6K (seasonally adjusted and annualized). Urban starts dropped 12.9K to 227.7K on declines in both the single-family (-5.5K to a post-pandemic low of 44.9K) and the multi-family segment (-7.4K to 182.9K).
The Teranet-National Bank Composite National House Price Index decreased by 0.3% in December compared to the previous month and after adjusting for seasonal effects, the sixth consecutive monthly decrease. After adjusting for seasonal effects, 6 of the 11 markets in the composite index were down during the month: Winnipeg (-1.8%), Calgary (-1.1%), Ottawa-Gatineau (-1.1%), Edmonton (-0.9%). Montreal (-0.5%) and Toronto (-0.4%). Conversely, the Quebec City (+1.3%), Victoria (+1.1%). Hamilton (+0.8%), Halifax (+0.4%) and Vancouver (+0.1%) markets were up.