Next Tuesday, The Bank of Canada will announce the new (or unchanged!) Prime Rate. For several months now (since the credit crunch of 2008), The Bank of Canada has maintained its prime rate at the virtually lowest level possible; 0.25%.
We started to read about potential rate increase in late 2009 when Australia had increased its rate several months in a row. However, the Australian reality appears to be quite far from that of the Canadian economy.
The most important reason why the Bank of Canada would increase their interest rate would be to maintain the inflation at an “acceptable” level. This level is currently set between 1% and 3% with a “ideal” rate of 2%.
Since we have been flirting with the 2% inflation rate for a while (currently at 1.9% as of April 2010), many economists have predicted that the Bank of Canada would start increasing its interest rate as previously mentioned by Mark Carney, Governor of The Bank of Canada.
There are more clouds in the sky than expected
The Bank of Canada was ready to stop the low interest rate party this summer but recent events in Europe might cause the Bank reconsider its strategy. Considering the economic problems stemming from the PIGS (Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain), the stock market has responded negatively.
Therefore, the economy may slow down again and reduce the inflation risk. Considering this scenario, there is no urge to increase the prime rate right away.
The general demand for resources is slowing down as the price of oil has dropped significantly. This will also have an important effect on inflation (even though they consider the inflation rate with and without the price of oil).
What is my bet on the Canadian Prime Rate?
I bet it will increase by 0.25% but I would definitely not be surprised if it stays at 0.25% until July. The only point I am quite confident of is that we won’t see an increase of 0.50% or 0.75% as some economists were predicting a few months ago.
It’s not that they were wrong in the predictions; it is just that today’s economy evolves so fast that your 5 year projection are probably right when you do them but they go wrong 2 weeks later ;-).
I hope to benefit from low interest rates till the end of 2010. This would help me stabilize my finances after my moving in June. This fall, I will seriously attack my mortgage so it starts decreasing faster than it has been for the past 2 years!
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