Bank of Canada holds interest rate, drops growth forecast for 2019
The Bank of Canada is keeping its key interest rate unchanged as it releases a downgraded 2019 growth forecast that includes a prediction the economy nearly came to a halt at the start of the year.
The central bank also appears to be in no hurry to move the interest rate any time soon because, unlike recent statements, the announcement today removed all mentions of a need for future increases.
The decision leaves the trend-setting rate at 1.75% for a fourth-straight announcement -- a pause that followed governor Stephen Polozs stretch of five hikes between mid-2017 and last fall.
The bank says the economy was operating close to full tilt for most of 2017 and 2018 before a sudden deceleration in the final months of last year, which was largely caused by a drop in oil prices and unexpectedly weak numbers for investment and exports.
In new projections today, the bank is predicting growth of real gross domestic product of 1.2% for 2019, down from its January forecast of 1.7%.
The Bank of Canada is projecting growth of just 0.3% in the first quarter of 2019, though its predicting the economy to pick up its pace in the second quarter on expectations of stronger housing activity, consumption and business investment.
First-Time Home Buyer Incentive now available
The First-Time Home Buyer Incentive helps qualified first-time homebuyers reduce their monthly mortgage payments without adding to their financial burdens.
The First-Time Home Buyer Incentive is a shared-equity mortgage with the Government of Canada. It offers:
5% or 10% for a first-time buyers purchase of a newly constructed home
5% for a first-time buyers purchase of a resale (existing) home
5% for a first-time buyers purchase of a new or resale mobile/manufactured home
The Incentives shared-equity mortgage is one where the government has a shared investment in the home. As a result, the government shares in both the upside and downside of the property value.
By obtaining the Incentive, the borrower may not have to save as much of a down payment to be able to afford the payments associated with the mortgage. The effect of the larger down payment is a smaller mortgage, and, ultimately, lower monthly costs.
The homebuyer will still have to repay the Incentive based on the propertys fair market value at the time of repayment. If a homebuyer received a 5% Incentive, they would repay 5% of the homes value at repayment. If a homebuyer received a 10% Incentive, they would repay 10% of the homes value at repayment.
The homebuyer must repay the Incentive after 25 years, or when the property is sold, whichever comes first. The homebuyer can also repay the Incentive in full any time before, without a pre-payment penalty.
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Consumer Price Index climbs in July
In July, the consumer price index climbed 0.5% (not seasonally adjusted), three ticks higher than the median economist forecast. The rise left the year-on-year measure unchanged at 2.0%. In seasonally adjusted terms, the CPI was up 0.4% in the month on increases in recreation (+0.9%), transportation (+0.6%), and food (+0.3%), among others. The Bank of Canadas preferred core measures on a year-on-year basis pegged in as follows: 2.1% for the CPI-trim, 2.1% for the CPI- median, and 1.9% for the CPI-common. The average of the three measures remained in line with the BoCs midpoint target of 2.0%. It is worth noting that the momentum has been building of late. Our in-house replication of the CPI-trim and the CPI-median for the three months to July reached 2.5% and 2.6%, respectively, on an annualized basis. Whereas the Fed can point to soft annual inflation figures to justify rate cuts, the BoC is faced with a very different situation. Whats more, in a context marked by a tight labour market and a weak Canadian dollar, we cannot rule out stronger inflation down the road.