Since March 2022, the Bank of Canada has raised interest rates 10 times. The policy lending rate has ballooned from a historically low rate of 0.25 in early 2022 to five per cent today.
It’s all part of the bank’s bid to ease elevated inflation, cool the housing market and slow down a national economy that has surprisingly remained heated despite various national and global headwinds.
How did Canada’s economy get here? And where is it headed next?
To paint that picture, Claire Fan joined Adam Jacobs for CRE Talks in Toronto.
Fan joined RBC in 2019 as an economist, focusing on the macroeconomic outlook for Canada and North America.
Fan is responsible for projecting a variety of key indicators that we all tend to focus on like GDP, inflation and labour — and she regularly publishes articles on market conditions.
Takeaways from their conversation:
- Long-anticipated weakness is now starting to emerge in the Canadian economy and there are various macroeconomic factors contributing to an overall slowdown which has, to date, lagged many recession predictions.
- There has been resilience in consumer spending and the labour market despite rising interest rates, but it appears Canadians are finally ready to reduce their spending.
- There’s a double-edged sword at play with Canada's record-setting population growth. The country’s surging population will positively influence the national housing market, consumer spending and the overall employment situation, but it will also bear challenges, including increasing demand on services and public infrastructure.
- Canadian productivity tends to lag the U.S. For instance, when it comes to obtaining a permit for a new general construction project, it takes 168 more days to obtain that permit in Canada, compared to the U.S.
- Jacobs and Fan end with the question many of us are asking: Where does the Bank of Canada go from here? Will it continue to raise rates and what will guide that decision-making process?