The Bank of Canada in Ottawa on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020. The Bank of Canada will provide a window into its thinking on the economy as it makes an announcement about its trend-setting rate. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

The Bank of Canada in Ottawa on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020. The Bank of Canada will provide a window into its thinking on the economy as it makes an announcement about its trend-setting rate. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Bank of Canada keeps key interest rate target on hold at 0.25 per cent

Bank points to new, more transmissible variants of COVID-19 as the biggest risk to an economic recovery

The Bank of Canada is keeping its key interest rate target on hold at 0.25 per cent, saying economic conditions still require it even if things are going better than anticipated.

In a statement, the central bank says it expects economic growth in the first quarter of 2021 to be positive, as opposed to its previous forecast in January for a contraction to start the year.

The bank’s senior decision-makers say resilience in the economy has to do with consumers and businesses adapting to new rounds of lockdowns and restrictions.

The statement also points to a stronger-than-expected housing market as a driver of an expected rise in real gross domestic product for the first three months of the year.

But the central bank warns of considerable uncertainty about the path of the pandemic that muddies longer-term economic outlooks, including how long it will take for the labour market to recover from historic losses last year.

The statement from the bank also points to new, more transmissible variants of COVID-19 as the biggest risk to an economic recovery, warning localized outbreaks could “restrain growth and add choppiness to the recovery.”

The bank says its key policy rate will stay at 0.25 per cent until the economy recovers and inflation is back at its two per cent comfort zone, which it doesn’t see happening until 2023.

The statement from the central bank also says it will continue its quantitative easing program, which is a way for central banks to pump money into the economy.

CIBC senior economist Royce Mendes writes that the communique from the bank fell short of pulling forward the timing of when the economy may heal enough to raise rates, which many experts now believe could occur late next year.

The key policy rate has been at 0.25 per cent for almost exactly one year after the central bank cut rates three times last March at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, bringing it to the lower effective bound, meaning the lowest it can go.

The Bank of Canada is scheduled to release its updated economic outlook late next month as part of its quarterly monetary policy report.

READ MORE: Canada to benefit from U.S. rebound, says OECD

The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Coronaviruseconomy

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Supporters gather during a rally against measures taken by government and health authorities to curb the spread of COVID-19 at the Whistle Stop cafe in Mirror Alta, on Saturday May 8, 2021. The Whistle Stop was shut down by AHS for not complying with COVID-19 rules. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Police hand out tickets to dozens leaving anti-lockdown protest in Alberta

Hundreds gathered outside the Whistle Stop Café in the hamlet of Mirror, Alta.

Learning Centre
Staff at the Stettler Learning Centre have been ‘hitting the road’ locally

The goal of the ‘Roadshow’ is to better connect with the Stettler and area community

People line up outside an immunization clinic to get their Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in Edmonton, Tuesday, April 20, 2021. Alberta leads the Prairie provinces in being the first to take COVID-19 vaccine bookings for pre-teens. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta leads Prairie provinces in accepting COVID vaccine bookings for pre-teens

The province begins accepting appointments for kids as young as 12 starting today

Asymptomatic testing will now be available for "priority groups" who are most likely to spread the COVID-19 virus to vulnerable or at-risk populations. File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS
FILE - In this March 3, 2021, file photo, a vial of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine is displayed at South Shore University Hospital in Bay Shore, N.Y. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)
Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine can be given to adults 30+ who can’t wait for mRNA: NACI

Panel says single shot vaccine can be especially useful for populations unable to return for second shot

File photo
Arrest made for armed robbery in Millet, Wetaskiwin RCMP continue to investigate

Wetaskiwin RCMP are investigating an armed robbery took place May 4, 2021 in Millet, Alta.

Dr. Karina Pillay, former mayor of Slave Lake, Alta., is shown at her medical clinic in Calgary on Friday, April 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
10 years later: Former Slave Lake mayor remembers wildfire that burned through town

Alberta announced in 2011 that an unknown arsonist had recklessly or deliberately ignited the forest fire

The body of Brenda Ware, 35, was found along Highway 93 in Kootenay National Park on Thursday, May 6, 2021. (RCMP handout)
RCMP ask for tips after woman travelling from Alberta found dead in B.C. park

Brenda Ware was found along Highway 93 in the park, 54 kilometres north of the town of Radium

A caribou grazes on Baffin Island in a 2008 file photo. A last-ditch attempt to save some of Canada’s vanishing caribou herds is a step closer after a scientific review panel’s approval of a plan to permanently pen some animals and breed them to repopulate other herds. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Kike Calvo via AP Images
Parks Canada captive caribou breeding proposal gets OK from scientific review panel

Wolf density in Jasper is low enough that the animals would not be expected to be a major threat

People pass the red hearts on the COVID-19 Memorial Wall mourning those who have died, opposite the Houses of Parliament on the Embankment in London, Wednesday, April 7, 2021. On May 3, the British government announced that only one person had died of COVID-19 in the previous 24 hours. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Kirsty Wigglesworth
For a view of a COVID-19 future, Canadians should look across the pond

Britain, like Canada, is one of the only countries in the world to delay second doses for several months

Nuns of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity, carry some of her relics during a vigil of prayer in preparation for the canonization of Mother Teresa in the St. John in Latheran Basilica at the Vatican, Friday, Sept. 2, 2016. In which city did she do much of her charitable work? (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
QUIZ: How much do you know about these motherhood issues?

In honour of Mother’s Day, take this 10-question quiz

Canada’s chief public health officer is reminding Canadians even those who are fully vaccinated are not immune from transmitting the COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns full vaccination does not equal full protection from COVID-19

Post-inoculation, Theresa Tam says the risk of asymptomatic infection and transmission is far lower but not obsolete

Jennifer Coffman, owner of Truffle Pigs in Field, B.C., poses beside her business sign on Thursday, May 6, 2021, in this handout photo. Her restaurant and lodge have been hit hard by a closure of a section of the Trans-Canada Highway and by the British Columbia government discouraging Alberta residents from visiting during the pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Jennifer Coffman, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
‘Why we survive’: B.C. boundary towns struggle without Albertans during pandemic

Jennifer Coffman’s restaurant is located in the tiny community of Field, which relies on tourism

Most Read