Bank of Canada holds interest rate, includes Trump risks into outlook

BoC keeps interest rate steady at 0.5% again

The central bank also included some Trump-related risks in its outlook

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OTTAWA — The Bank of Canada is holding its benchmark interest rate at 0.5 per cent and providing a deeper assessment of the risks associated with the big economic unknowns of a Trump presidency.

The central bank is keeping its key interest rate in place with the Canadian economy showing signs of improvement — but it also warns of the significant uncertainty tied to potential policy changes by the United States, its largest trading partner.

This is the bank’s first release of its updated forecasts and broad economic assessment since Donald Trump won the U.S. presidential election in November. Trump is to be inaugurated as President on Friday.

For now, however, the bank is offering an optimistic outlook by largely sticking with the growth expectations that it released in October, by predicting the economy to expand by 2.1 per cent in 2017 and 2018.

It says its base-case outlook only factors in the impact of the expected U.S. fiscal boost, which would help Canada through increased demand, and the effects of Trump’s vow to cut corporate taxes, which it notes would hurt Canadian competitiveness.

The bank did not account for the full range of Trump’s promised policy changes — including his protectionist pledge that it says would have material consequences for Canadian investment and exports.


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