Bank of Canada raises policy rate by 25 bps to 4.5%.

Bank of Canada Peter Carstensen 26 Jan

Canadians are reeling once again from another overnight rate hike.
Here’s what Dominion Lending Centre’s Chief Economist, Dr. Sherry Cooper, says about the rate hike on January 25, 2023.

No Surprises Here: The Bank of Canada Hiked Rates By Only 25 bps, Signalling A Pause

As expected, the Bank of Canada–satisfied with the sharp decline in recent inflation pressure–raised the policy rate by only 25 bps to 4.5%. Forecasting that inflation will return to roughly 3.0% later this year and to the target of 2% in 2024 is subject to considerable uncertainty.

The Bank acknowledges that recent economic growth in Canada has been stronger than expected, and the economy remains in excess demand. Labour markets are still tight, and the unemployment rate is at historic lows. “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. Meanwhile, weaker foreign demand will likely weigh on exports. This overall slowdown in activity will allow supply to catch up with demand.”

The report says, “Canada’s economy grew by 3.6% in 2022, slightly stronger than was projected in October. Growth is expected to stall through the middle of 2023, picking up later in the year. The Bank expects GDP growth of about 1% in 2023 and about 2% in 2024, little changed from the October outlook. This is consistent with the Bank’s expectation of a soft landing in the economy.

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.”

Short-term inflation expectations remain elevated. Year-over-year measures of core inflation are still around 5%, but 3-month measures of core inflation have come down, suggesting that core inflation has peaked.

The BoC says, “Inflation is projected to come down significantly this year. Lower energy prices, improvements in global supply conditions, and the effects of higher interest rates on demand are expected to bring CPI inflation down to around 3% in the middle of this year and back to the 2% target in 2024.” (the emphasis is mine.)

The Bank will continue its policy of quantitative tightening, another restrictive measure. The Governing Council expects to hold the policy rate at 4.5% while it assesses the cumulative impact of the eight rate hikes in the past year. They then say, “Governing Council is prepared to increase the policy rate further if needed to return inflation to the 2% target, and remains resolute in its commitment to restoring price stability for Canadians”.

Bottom Line

The Bank of Canada was the first major central bank to tighten this cycle, and now it is the first to announce a pause and assert they expect inflation to fall to 3% by mid-year and 2% in 2024.

No rate hike is likely on March 8 or April 12. This may lead many to believe that rates have peaked so buyers might tiptoe back into the housing market. This is not what the Bank of Canada would like to see. Hence OSFI might tighten the regulatory screws a bit when the April 14 comment period is over.

Source
https://sherrycooper.com/category/articles/

Canadian Home Prices Fell For the Ninth Consecutive Month As Activity Slowed

Home Sales Peter Carstensen 16 Dec

The Canadian Real Estate Association released statistics for the month of November on December 15th.
Here are Dominion Lending Centre’s Chief Economist, Dr. Sherry Cooper’s thoughts on the future of home sales in the country.

Another Month, Another Dip in Housing

Statistics released today (December 15, 2022) by the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) show home sales edged down in November. National home sales fell 3.3% between October and November, continuing the moderating sales trend that began last February on the precipice of unprecedented monetary policy tightening. Sales are down a whopping 39% from a year ago. The Bank of Canada has hiked their overnight policy rate by 400 bps, from 25 bps to 4.25%, triggering a whopping rise in mortgage rates.

About 60% of all local markets saw lower sales in November, led by Greater Vancouver and the Fraser Valley, Edmonton, the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and Montreal.

The actual (not seasonally adjusted) number of transactions in November 2022 came in 38.9% below a near-record for that month last year. It stood about 13% below the pre-COVID-19 10-year average for November sales (see chart below).

New Listings

Sellers remain on the sidelines as the number of newly listed homes edged down last month by 1.3%, declining 6.1% from a year ago. Most sellers are waiting for interest rates to fall, either because they expect a rebound in sellers or are unwilling to buy new properties themselves with mortgage rates so high.

While sales have swung wildly, new listing flows have remained relatively steady through the recent turbulence and are very much in line with pre-COVID norms. There’s still not a lot of forced selling, which can exacerbate a price correction.

New listings fell in slightly more than half of the local markets. Among the larger markets in Canada, month-over-month movements in new supply were generally small, the only exception being some more significant declines in the B.C. Lower Mainland and Okanagan regions.

In terms of monthly new supply, the bigger picture is listings are not flooding the market. With the one exception of 2019, November 2022 saw the fewest new listings for that month in 17 years.

With sales down month-over-month by a little more than new listings in November, the sales-to-new listings ratio fell to 49.9% compared to 50.9% in October. The ratio has remained close to around 50% since May. The long-term average for this measure is 55.1%.

Based on a comparison of the current sales-to-new listings ratio with long-term averages, about 70% of local markets are currently in the balanced market territory.

There were 4.2 months of inventory on a national basis at the end of November 2022. This is close to where this measure was in the months leading up to the initial COVID-19 lockdowns and still nearly a full month below its long-term average.

Home Prices

The Aggregate Composite MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) edged down 1.4% month-over-month in November 2022, continuing the trend that began in the spring.

The Aggregate Composite MLS® HPI now sits about 11.5% below its peak level. Breaking that down regionally, the general trend is prices are down somewhat more than they are nationally in Ontario and parts of B.C. and down by less elsewhere. While prices have softened to some degree almost everywhere, Calgary, Regina and Saskatoon stand out as markets where home prices are barely off their peaks at all.

The table below shows the decline in MLS-HPI benchmark home prices in Canada and selected cities since prices peaked in March when the Bank of Canada began hiking interest rates. More details follow in the second table below. The most significant price dips are in the GTA and the GVA, where the price gains were spectacular during the COVID-shutdown.

Bottom Line

OSFI announced this morning that the minimum qualifying rate for uninsured mortgages at federally regulated financial institutions would remain unchanged. They will review Guideline B-20 next month, but don’t hold your breath for an easing of the stress test.

In other news, housing starts were little changed last month at 264,600 annualized units. This is a strong level of new construction; the year-to-date average is roughly 265,000 units. Combined with the record 275,000 new units started last year, we are in line for the most significant two-year wave of housing starts on record. On a per-capita basis, we’re starting 2023 with an unprecedented construction boom despite higher costs, labour shortages and much higher interest rates.

Outlook

The Bank of Canada is likely to raise the policy rate a couple of times by 25 bps in the first half of next year, pausing between rate hikes. They will not cut rates in 2023 even though the economy will post at least a mild contraction.

2024 will be a recovery year but don’t expect the overnight rate to return to the pre-Covid level of 1.75%. Indeed, the new cycle low will likely be more like 2.5% assuming inflation continues to trend downward. Price growth will be much more subdued than during the rocking ten-year period before the pandemic. Still, the underlying fundamentals of rapid population growth, mainly from immigration, bode well for sustained growth going forward.

https://dominionlending.ca/economic-insights/canadian-home-prices-fell-for-the-ninth-consecutive-month-as-activity-slowed

The Rate Debate – Fixed or Variable? What is Right For Me?

General Peter Carstensen 12 Dec

The recent Bank of Canada’s rate hike has many Canadian’s asking for advice about variable versus fixed mortgage rates. What may work for one person may not work for another. In May of this year, Dominion Lending Centre answered some common questions. Let’s take another look at the article below.

 

The Rate Debate

One of the first questions that potential buyers want answered is: “What is your interest rate?”

It is easy to think that this is the most important question, but there is a lot more to your mortgage contract than just the rate. And so, the rate debate continues!

The rate debate is a hot topic in the mortgage world. Not just the rates itself, but the importance of the rate versus other factors in the mortgage – such as terms and penalties. As a borrower, it can be easy to get caught up in one thing but, if you’re not paying close attention, ignoring other factors could cost you in the long run.

Before we get into these other factors, let’s talk rate. While not the only factor, it does continue to be an important decision criteria with any mortgage product. The interest rate is the percentage of interest you are paying on the principal loan; lower interest rates means more money to the mortgage and who doesn’t want that?

Variable Vs. Fixed

There are two types of mortgage rates: variable-rate and fixed-rate. A fixed-rate is just that – a fixed amount of interest that you would pay for the term of the mortgage. A variable-rate, on the other hand, is based off of the current Prime Rate, and can fluctuate depending on the markets.

Fixed rates are typically tied to the world economy where the variable rate is linked to the Canadian economy. When the economy is stable, variable rates will remain low to stimulate buying.

Fixed-Rate Mortgage: First-time homebuyers and experienced homebuyers typically love the stability of a fixed rate when just entering the mortgage space. The pros of this type of mortgage are that your payments don’t change throughout the life of the term. However, should the Prime Rate drop, you won’t be able to take advantage of potential interest savings.

Variable-Rate Mortgage: As mentioned, variable-rate mortgages are based on the Prime Rate in Canada. This means that the amount of interest you pay on your mortgage could go up or down, depending on the Prime. When considering a variable-rate mortgage, some individuals will set standard payments (based on the same mortgage at a fixed-rate), this means that should Prime drop and interest rates lower, they are paying more to the principal as opposed to paying interest. If the rates go up, they simply pay more interest instead of direct to the principal loan. Other variable-rate mortgage holders will simply allow their payments to drop with Prime Rate decreases, or increase should the rate go up. Depending on your income and financial stability, this could be a great option to take advantage of market fluctuations.

Beyond Rates

When considering your mortgage, other considerations such as penalties can be important factors for deciding on a mortgage product. If you have two competing products, say 1.65% interest fixed-rate and a 1.95% interest variable-rate, it seems as though it is a pretty easy decision. But, what about the ability to make extra payments? And what are the penalties?

It is easy to think that nothing will change throughout your 5-year mortgage term, so you probably haven’t even considered the penalties. However, when looking at the fixed versus variable rate mortgage, penalties can be quite different. Where variable rates typically charge three-months interest, a fixed rate mortgage uses an Interest Rate Differential (IRD) calculation.

Given that nearly 70% of fixed mortgages are broken before the term ends, this is an important variable. Fixed-rate mortgages are typically okay when the penalty is your contract rate versus the Benchmark rate. However, when penalties are based on the Benchmark rate (sometimes called the Bank of Canada rate), it is typically much higher than your contract rate, resulting in greater penalties.

In some cases, penalties for breaking a fixed mortgage can sometimes be two or three times higher than that of a variable-rate. While the interest rate is lower, lower penalties are sometimes best should anything happen down the line.

Conventional vs. High-Ratio Mortgage

Another consideration beyond just the interest rate, is whether or not you will be obtaining a conventional or a high-ratio mortgage. Whenever possible, it is recommended to put 20 percent down payment on a new home. This results in a conventional mortgage. However, as not everyone is able to do this, many buyers will end up with a high-ratio mortgage product.

So, what does this mean?

High-ratio mortgages need to be insured by either Genworth Financial, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), or Canada Guaranty. This is due to the Bank Act, which will only allow financial institutions to lend up to 80 percent of the homes purchase price WITHOUT mortgage default insurance. Insurance on the mortgage is important to protect the lender should you default on your payments, leaving the insurer to deal with the borrower.

The difference between conventional and high-ratio mortgages is that high-ratio mortgages require insurance, which results in an insurance premium. This is added to and paid along with the mortgage, but is an important factor when considering your monthly payments. These premiums are based on the loan to value (LTV), which is the amount of the loan versus the value of your home.

All high-ratio mortgages are regulated to have mortgage insurance, but some homeowners with a conventional mortgage may choose to pay for mortgage insurance to get a better rate.

Smart Questions to Ask

To ensure you understand your mortgage contract, and how it could affect you now and in the future, we have compiled a few smart questions to ask before you sign.

1) What is my interest rate? Can I qualify for a better one?
2) Do you recommend fixed or variable-rate?
3) What are the penalties for breaking my mortgage?
4) Are there any pre-payment penalties?
5) Will I require mortgage insurance? If so, what are the premiums?
6) What will my monthly payment be?
7) Is my mortgage portable?

These are just a few examples of good questions to ask. It is important to do your own research and be diligent with any contract you are signing. Contacting a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage broker today can help ensure you understand what you are agreeing to, and that you are getting the best mortgage product for you!
https://dominionlending.ca/mortgage-tips/the-rate-debate

Bank of Canada Hikes Overnight Rate 50 bps to 4.25%

Bank of Canada Peter Carstensen 7 Dec

On December 7 2022, the Bank of Canada raised interest rates as had been expected. Dominion Lending Centre’s Chief Economist, Dr. Sherry Cooper, shares her thoughts on the rate hike below.

The Bank of Canada Hiked Rates The Full 50 bps

The Governing Council of the Bank of Canada raised its target for the overnight policy rate by 50 basis points today to 4.25% and signaled that the Council would “consider whether the policy interest rate needs to rise further to bring supply and demand back into balance and return inflation to target.” This is more dovish language than in earlier actions where they asserted that rates would need to rise further. Some have interpreted this new press release to imply that the Bank of Canada will now pause or pivot. I disagree.

I expect there will be additional rate hikes next year, but they will be more measured and not on every decision date. I also feel that the Bank will refrain from cutting the policy rate until 2024.

The Bank told us today that the “longer that consumers and businesses expect inflation to be above the target, the greater the risk that elevated inflation becomes entrenched.” 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. However, inflation is still too high, and short-term inflation expectations remain elevated.”

The economy remains in excess demand, and the labour market is very tight. The jobless rate in November fell to 5.1%, and job vacancies increased in September. Wage inflation came in at 5.6% y/y in November for the second consecutive month, marking six straight months of wage inflation above 5%. While headline and core inflation have moderated from their recent peaks, they exceed the 2% target by a large measure. 

The Bank will monitor incoming data, especially regarding the overheated labour market where the jobless rate is at historic lows. Housing has slowed sharply in recent months, but as long as labour markets are tight, a slowdown in other sectors will be muted. The Bank now says it expects the economy “to stall” in the current quarter and the first half of next year.

Bottom Line

This will likely be the last oversized rate hike this cycle. The Governing Council next meets on January 25. Whether they raise rates will be data-dependent. If they do, it will likely be by 25 bps. Even if they pause at that meeting, it does not rule out additional moves later in the year if excess demand persists. I expect further monetary tightening, the continued bear market in equities, and a further correction in house prices. 

Canadian benchmark home prices are already down nearly 10% nationwide. Several chartered banks told us this week that more than 25% of the remaining amortizations for their residential mortgages are 35 years and more. At renewal, these institutions expect to grant mortgages amortized at 25 years, which implies a substantial rise in monthly payments. That may well be three or four years away, but clearly, many households could be pinched unless mortgage rates plunge in the interim. I do not see the policy rate falling to its pre-Covid level of 1.75% over that period because inflation back then was less than 2%, an improbable circumstance as we advance. Although supply constraints may be easing, globalization has peaked. Semiconductors produced in the US will not be as cheap, and many rents, prices, and wages will be very sticky.

Source: https://sherrycooper.com/articles/bank-of-canada-hikes-overnight-rate-50-bps-to-4-25/

Little Comfort for the Bank of Canada in Today’s Jobs Report

Bank of Canada Peter Carstensen 2 Dec

Following the release of the labour force survey for the month of November, Dominion Lending Centres’ Chief Economist, Dr. Sherry Cooper, has posted some thoughts on the report.

Below is Dr. Cooper’s summary:

Today’s Labour Force Survey for November will do little to assuage the Bank of Canada’s concern about inflation. While employment growth slowed to 10,100 net new jobs–down sharply from October’s reading–the report’s underlying details point to excess labour demand and rising wages. This is compounded by Monday’s data release showing that the Canadian economy grew by 2.9%, double the rate expected by the Bank of Canada. Everyone expects a slowdown in the current quarter and a modest contraction in the new year. However, excess demand is still running rampant in almost everything except housing.

Indicative of hiring strength, full-time employment was up a robust 50,700, and the private sector added 24,700 jobs. The jobless rate ticked down for the second consecutive month to 5.1%–well below the 5.7% rate posted immediately before the pandemic, which was considered full employment at that time. Total hours worked edged up, consistent with growth in the fourth quarter. And most notably, wage inflation came in at a year-over-year pace of 5.6% in November, the sixth consecutive month of greater than 5% wage inflation. Moreover, private and public sector unions demand even more significant wage gains as inflation remains close to 7%.

Businesses report difficulty filling jobs as job vacancies rose in the latest reading. The employment rate among core-aged women reached a new record high of 81.6% in November.

Employment rose in finance, insurance, real estate, rental and leasing, manufacturing, information, culture, and recreation. At the same time, it fell in several industries, including construction and wholesale and retail trade.

While employment increased in Quebec, it declined in five provinces, including Alberta and British Columbia.

Bottom Line

Today’s data are the last key input into the Bank of Canada’s December 7 interest rate decision. Overnight swap markets are fully pricing in a 25 basis-point hike next week, with traders putting about a one-third chance on a 50 basis-point move. Rising wages show no sign of cooling, and the economy posted much more robust growth in the third quarter than the Bank expected. 

The overnight policy rate target is currently at 3.75%. If I were on the Bank’s Governing Council, I would vote for a 50-bps rise to 4.25%. Returning to a more typical 25 bps rise is premature, given inflation is a long way above the Bank’s 2% target. Inflation will not slow, with consumers and businesses expecting continued high inflation. Wage-price spiralling is a real risk until inflationary psychology can be broken. 

In either case, additional rate hikes early next year are likely. Even when the central bank pauses, it will not pivot to rate cuts for an extended period. Market-driven longer-term interest rates have fallen significantly as market participants expect a recession in 2023. Fixed mortgage rates have fallen as well. The inverted yield curve will remain through much of 2023, with a housing recovery in 2024.

https://sherrycooper.com/articles/little-comfort-for-the-bank-of-canada-in-todays-jobs-report/

Homeowners with variable mortgages squeezed between rising rates and falling home prices

General Peter Carstensen 1 Dec

The Bank of Canada is widely expected to raise its benchmark rate yet again on Dec. 7

Mortgage brokers say homeowners with variable-rate mortgages will be squeezed even further next week, as the Bank of Canada is widely expected to raise the country’s key lending rate as part of its continued efforts to curb rapidly rising inflation.

The rate adjustment is scheduled for Dec. 7, and if it happens the way most are predicting, it will be the seventh such hike in the prime rate since March.

Variable rate mortgages, where payments are linked to the rise and fall of the country’s key lending rate, account for about a third of all mortgage debt in the country, according to the Bank of Canada.

They grew in popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic, as housing prices soared while interest rates were close to zero — keeping many buyers’ payments significantly lower than if they were to choose a fixed-rate mortgage.

Now that interest rates are rising, and home prices are falling, many homeowners who bought at the market’s peak have found themselves questioning whether they made the right choice and if it’s not too late to make a change.

‘Should I lock in?’ There’s no easy answer

“Should I lock in? That’s the million dollar question right now, and it’s a tough question to answer,” said Dani Hanna, a mortgage broker and owner of the Mortgage Firm in London, Ont.

“The reason the rates have been increasing so quickly is because of inflation. Inflation is through the roof. We could see that start to subside in the next couple of months, and if that starts to subside, could we see interest rates go down? Possibly,” he said.

It’s why some mortgage brokers are reticent to advise their clients to lock in now at a fixed rate.

If inflation starts to slow, the central bank could lower rates again, bringing payments down with them. If a homeowner were to switch to a fixed rate, they could be stuck paying significantly more than they would have if they just kept a variable rate, Hanna said.

“For me, I ask my clients, ‘is this keeping you up at night? Are you stressed out about the fact that your payment can increase again?’ If the answer is ‘yes,’ then I strongly recommend locking into the fixed rate,” he said.

“If you have the ability to maintain these higher payments for now — ride the wave. See what happens. The Bank of Canada has mentioned that it has started to slow down on the increases, which means your payment won’t go up”

Half of all variable rate mortgages hit trigger rate in October

Part of the reason is that many borrowers are reaching the point where the interest portion of their payment has become larger than the principal, called the trigger rate.

A recent analysis by the Bank of Canada estimated half of all variable rate mortgages in Canada hit their trigger rate last month.

The analysis said it is anticipated “variable mortgage rates will increase by another 50 basis points by mid-2023.” At that point, it’s believed the number of variable rate mortgages to hit their trigger point will be 65 per cent, or 17 per cent of all mortgages in Canada.

In London, Ont., the average price of a home has fallen for eight months to roughly $640,000 in October, down from the market’s peak of about $825,000 in February.

“It’s tough,” said Mark Mitchell, a London, Ont., mortgage broker with Real Mortgage Associates. “Rates have gone sky-high.”

Like many financial experts, Mitchell anticipates a hike of at least 50 basis points on Dec. 7, putting the Bank of Canada prime rate at 4.25 per cent. He believes there are more to come, putting homeowners who chose variable rate mortgages in an even more difficult position.

“The prime rate is 3.75 and the inflation rate is seven. Historically, the prime rate is supposed to be higher than inflation. Now I don’t think they’re going to go that far, but they still have a ways to go.

“All signs point to it’s going to get worse before it gets better.”

Mitchell said he’s advising borrowers with a variable rate mortgage to lock in now to avoid even more pain down the road, but if a client can’t afford to lock in because the payments are too high, he said it might be time to consider selling.

“I’m already seeing a lot of anticipatory selling because it’s too high for them to lock in,” he said. “There’s a lot of pain out there. It’s been a lot of tough conversations as of late, that’s for sure.”

Mitchell said many people who are considering selling a home they can’t keep are looking at renting, but they likely won’t see any relief there as rental rates also rose alongside real estate prices during the frenzy of the pandemic.

“The payments are just as high as you were paying, if not more, than when you owned your home, unfortunately.”

Source CBC.ca

Colin Butler

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/london/variable-rate-mortgage-interest-1.6667899

Why should Canadians care about inflation?

General Peter Carstensen 12 Oct

Inflation directly impacts your purchasing power.

Now more than ever, Canadians want to be financially empowered. At Dominion Lending Centres, we rely on insights from our Chief Economist, Dr. Sherry Cooper, a 30-year industry veteran, speaker, and author.

In the video link below, Dr. Cooper explains why Canadians should care about inflation.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r5YGf7ccOcY

Finally Some Good News On The Inflation Front

Interest Rates Peter Carstensen 10 Aug

Finally Some Good News On The Inflation Front

It was widely expected that US consumer price inflation would decelerate in July, reflecting the decline in energy prices that peaked in early June. The US CPI was unchanged last month following its 1.3% spike in June. This reduced the year-over-year inflation rate to 8.5% from a four-decade high of 9.1%. Oil prices have fallen to roughly US$90.00 a barrel, returning it to the level posted before the Russian invasion of Ukraine. This has taken gasoline prices down sharply, a decline that continued thus far in August. Key commodity prices have fallen sharply, shown in the chart below, although the recent decline in the agriculture spot index has not shown up yet on grocery store shelves. US food costs jumped 1.1% in July, taking the yearly rate to 10.9%, its highest level since 1979.

The biggest surprise was the decline in core inflation, which excludes food and energy prices. The shelter index continued to rise but did post a smaller increase than the prior month, increasing 0.5 percent in July compared to 0.6 percent in June. The rent index rose 0.7 percent in July, and the owners’ equivalent rent index rose 0.6 percent.

Travel-related prices declined last month. The index for airline fares fell sharply in July, decreasing 7.8%. Hotel prices continued to drop, falling 2.7% on the heels of a similar decrease in June. Rental car prices fell as well from historical highs earlier this cycle.

Bottom Line

The expectation is that the softening in inflation will give the Fed some breathing room. Fed officials have said they want to see months of evidence that prices are cooling, especially in the core gauge. They’ll have another round of monthly CPI and jobs reports before their next policy meeting on Sept. 20-21.

Treasury yields slid across the curve on the news this morning while the S&P 500 was higher and the US dollar plunged. Traders now see a 50-basis-point increase next month as more likely than 75. Next Tuesday, August 16, the July CPI will be released in Canada. If the data show a dip in Canadian inflation, as I expect, that could open the door for a 50 bps rise (rather than 75 bps) in the Bank of Canada rate when they meet again on September 7. That is particularly important because, with one more policy rate hike, we are on the precipice of hitting trigger points for fixed payment variable rate mortgages booked since March 2020, when the prime rate was only 2.45%. The lower the rate hike, the fewer the number of mortgages falling into that category.

The source of this article is from https://sherrycooper.com/articles/finally-some-good-news-on-the-inflation-front/

A Super-Sized Rate Hike, Signalling More To Come – Economic Insights with Dr. Sherry Cooper

Latest News Peter Carstensen 15 Jul

Bank of Canada Shocks With 100 bps Rate Hike.
A Super-Sized Rate Hike, Signalling More To Come

Published by Sherry Cooper

The Governing Council of the Bank of Canada raised its target for the overnight policy rate by a full percentage point to 2-1/2%. The Bank is also continuing its policy of quantitative tightening (QT), reducing its holdings of Government of Canada bonds, which puts additional upward pressure on longer-term interest rates.

In its press release this morning, the Bank said that “inflation in Canada is higher and more persistent than the Bank expected in its April Monetary Policy Report (MPR), and will likely remain around 8% in the next few months… While global factors such as the war in Ukraine and ongoing supply disruptions have been the biggest drivers, domestic price pressures from excess demand are becoming more prominent. More than half of the components that make up the CPI are now rising by more than 5%.”

The Bank is particularly concerned that inflation pressures will become entrenched. Consumer and business surveys have recently suggested that inflation expectations are rising and are expected to be higher for longer. Wage inflation has accelerated to 5.2% in the June labour Force Survey. The unemployment rate has fallen to a record-low 4.9%, with job vacancy rates hitting a record high in Ontario and Alberta.

Central banks worldwide are aggressively hiking interest rates, and growth is slowing. “In the United States, high inflation and rising interest rates contribute to a slowdown in domestic demand. China’s economy is being held back by waves of restrictive measures to contain COVID-19 outbreaks. Oil prices remain high and volatile. The Bank expects global economic growth to slow to about 3½% this year and 2% in 2023 before strengthening to 3% in 2024.”

Further excess demand is evident in the Canadian economy. “With strong demand, businesses are passing on higher input and labour costs by raising prices. Consumption is robust, led by a rebound in spending on hard-to-distance services. Business investment is solid, and exports are being boosted by elevated commodity prices. The Bank estimates that GDP grew by about 4% in the second quarter. Growth is expected to slow to about 2% in the third quarter as consumption growth moderates and housing market activity pulls back following unsustainable strength during the pandemic.”

In the July Monetary Policy Report, released today, the Bank published its forecasts for Canada’s economy to grow by 3.5% in 2022–in line with consensus expectations–1.75% in 2023 and 2.5% in 2024. Some economists are already forecasting weaker growth next year, in line with a moderate recession. The Bank has not gone that far yet.

According to the Bank of Canada, “economic activity will slow as global growth moderates, and tighter monetary policy works its way through the economy. This, combined with the resolution of supply disruptions, will bring demand and supply back into balance and alleviate inflationary pressures. Global energy prices are also projected to decline. The July outlook has inflation starting to come back down later this year, easing to about 3% by the end of next year and returning to the 2% target by the end of 2024.”

Bank of Canada Overnight Rate
Bottom Line
Today’s Bank of Canada reports confirmed that the Governing Council continues to judge that interest rates will need to rise further, and “the pace of increases will be guided by the Bank’s ongoing assessment of the economy and inflation.” Once again, the Bank asserted it is “resolute in its commitment to price stability and will continue to take action as required to achieve the 2% inflation target.”

At 2.5%, the policy rate is at the midpoint of its ‘neutral’ range. This is the level at which monetary policy is deemed to be neither expansionary nor restrictive. Governor Macklem said he expects the Bank to hike the target to 3% or slightly higher. Before today’s actions, markets had expected the year-end overnight rate at 3.5%.

https://dominionlending.ca/economic-insights/bank-of-canada-shocks-with-100-bps-rate-hike