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2180 Steeles Avenue West,
Suite 204, Concord,
ON, L4K 2Z5

Phone:     905-761-7001
Toll Free: 1855-761-7001
Fax:          905-761-7005

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13 March 2020

An unexpected rate cut from the Bank of Canada

On Friday, the Bank of Canada surprised everyone by cutting its key lending rate by half a percent to 0.75%.

As you know, the BoC already cut the rate by 0.50% on March 4 in order to help fight the influences of the coronavirus.

"This unscheduled rate change is a proactive measure amid negative shocks to Canada's economy caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the latest sharp decline in oil prices," – the central bank noted.

Usually, the Bank meets every six weeks to determine its interest rate. The changes aside from those meetings are made only in extreme cases.

Today’s announcement shows how seriously Canadian policy-makers are taking the coronavirus situation. It’s the first unscheduled rate change since the financial crisis in 2009.

"I've never seen a rate cut on a Friday afternoon," – says Doug Porter, chief economist with the Bank of Montreal.

The BoC’s next rate meeting is on April 15, and we’ll get a full update of the Bank’s outlook for the Canadian and global economies.

In Porter’s opinion, there will be another rate cut, but not before April 15. "Now we expect another half percent drop to 0.25%”.

The central bank’s rate affects the rates that Canadian savers and borrowers receive.

According to TD Bank economist Brian DePratto, this change was a significant step in the right direction.

"This week, we’ve seen numerous challenges and negative headlines concerning COVID-19," - he said. "We needed a response, and we got also promises of more actions”.

The BoC governor Stephen Poloz noted the Bank is ready to act again, but there’s not so much space to do it when the rate is at 0.75%.

Although there are other tools, Poloz says he’s not fond of negative rates, pointing to other central banks leading their rates into negative territory.

Poloz believes Canada will hardly need negative rates.

 

 

 

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