Mark Carney is taking a cautious approach to raising interest rates, weighing Canada’s powerful economic rebound against the uncertainty of an “increasingly uneven” recovery across the globe.
The Bank of Canada Governor became the first central banker in the Group of Seven to raise borrowing costs since the financial crisis and recession, increasing the benchmark overnight rate Tuesday by one-quarter of a percentage point to a still exceptionally low 0.5 per cent.
Policy makers will keep an eye on Europe’s troubles, and won’t move more aggressively than they see fit, the Bank of Canada suggested, even though the economy is rebounding rapidly and inflation will likely exceed its 2-per-cent target this year. Much like in 2008 when the U.S. financial crisis pulled
Canada into recession, the country’s economic health depends in large part on policy makers in other countries successfully containing homemade problems.
“Interest rates are incredibly low, given the strength of the domestic economy, but the global story is where it’s at right now,” Eric Lascelles, chief economic strategist at TD Securities in Toronto, said in an interview. “The level of uncertainty suggests there’s not a lot of confidence in the forecasts.’’ The open-ended nature of the announcement sparked a fall in the Canadian dollar and yields on two-year government bonds as investors pulled back their bets on what they had expected might be a series of uninterrupted rate hikes going forward.