In a nutshell, Canada’s economy is growing at a slower pace than expected – although a pickup is likely later this year – and inflation remains weak at near recession levels, for now, while consumer debt and the housing market appear to be stabilizing, if not cooling. At the same time, the global outlook has also slowed, while fiscal and debt concerns in the United States and Europe have dissipated slightly.
The bottom line for Canada: Interest rates aren’t going anywhere soon.
Today, for the first time, policymakers combined their regular-rate decision announcement with the bank’s Monetary Policy Report, a closely-watched quarterly reading on domestic and global factors affecting the economy.
As expected, the Bank of Canada kept a lid on borrowing costs, with its trendsetting overnight rate – the main instrument used to guide inflation toward the bank’s 2% target – remaining at a near-record low 1%, unchanged since September 2010 and now the longest dormant stretch since the early 1950s.
The only wrinkle in its usually pact statement accompanying a rate announcement was to highlight “the more muted inflation outlook and the beginning of a more constructive evolution of imbalances in the household sector,” adding that “the timing of any such withdrawal is less imminent than previously anticipated.”
Click here to read more from the Financial Post.
The US House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a bill today to permit the government to borrow enough money to avoid a default for at least four months, defusing a crisis looming next month and setting the stage for a springtime debate over taxes, spending and the deficit.
The House passed the measure on a bipartisan 285-144 vote as majority Republicans back away from their previous demand that any increase in the government’s borrowing cap be paired with an equivalent level of spending cuts.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev, said the chamber would immediately move to advance the legislation to the White House, which has announced President Barack Obama would sign it.
The measure would suspend the $16.4 trillion (US) cap on federal borrowing and reset it on May 19th to reflect the additional borrowing required between the date the bill becomes law and then. The amount of borrowing required depends on the tax receipts received during filing season, but over a comparable period last year the government ran deficits in the range of $150 billion.
Click here for the full Globe and Mail article.
A good credit score is important if you plan to borrow money because it means you’ll qualify for lower interest rates on loans and have access to a variety of credit offers.
Your credit score indicates the risk you represent for lenders when compared to other consumers. Higher scores are viewed more favorably. The two credit-reporting agencies, Equifax and TransUnion, use a credit scoring scale from 300 to 900.
I’ve sent away for my free credit report a couple of times to check for errors, but that report doesn’t include your score. I was curious and so last week I went to the Equifax website and paid $23.95 for my credit report and credit score online.
My credit score was 788, which isn’t perfect, but most lenders would consider it pretty good.
Click here for six steps to improve your credit score from The Star.