By David George-Cosh and Paul Vieira
Uncertainty among firms remains at elevated levels in the Canadian economy and that is unlikely to dissipate until the incoming Trump administration begins to introduce "concrete" policies, Bank of Canada Gov. Stephen Poloz said Monday evening.
After delivering a speech in Toronto, he said incoming data this week -- highlighted by how the economy performed in the third-quarter, out Wednesday -- will give a better sense of how the central bank should forge ahead at its next rate-decision meeting on Dec. 7. It left its policy rate unchanged in October at 0.5% although it said it "actively discussed" further easing."The fact that you've finished the U.S. election doesn't mean the uncertainty has gone away," Mr. Poloz said during a question-and-answer session. "The current situation is a fuzzy one and the more information we get between now and decision day, the better."
Mr. Poloz also downplayed the impact that the incoming U.S. administration has had on Canadian bond yields, which have risen in sync with their U.S. Treasury counterparts. The 10-year Canadian bond now yields around 1.53%, up from about 1% in September.
Mr. Poloz said he would be waiting for a "definite change in policy" from Washington before building in any assumptions to its economic modeling.
In his speech, Mr. Poloz struck a confident tone, arguing Canada is slowly digging itself out of the deep hole created by lost manufacturing capacity and lower commodity prices, with the economy on course to reach full capacity some time in mid-2018.
"The process has been gradual, more gradual than we would like," Mr. Poloz said, according to prepared remarks he was to deliver in Toronto at an event organized by the C.D. Howe Institute think tank. "Based on the progress recorded to date, we have every confidence that the economy will find its way back to full output."
He said excess capacity will be absorbed sometime around mid-2018, and inflation will converge at the central bank's 2% target. The central bank sets rates to reach and maintain 2% inflation.
Mr. Poloz's comments arrive less than 48 hours before data show how much the economy grew in the third quarter. The expectation is for annualized growth of over 3% in the three-month period.
Yet market watchers say there is an increased likelihood of another Bank of Canada rate cut as signs emerge the economy lost momentum in the fourth quarter. They also point to uncertainty about the impact of a Trump administration on Canada, especiallyon trade relations.
The central bank has pinned its hope on non-energy exports to lift Canada's fortunes, and Mr. Poloz said Monday that the export recovery since the financial crisis "has been impressive but remains incomplete."
The central bank estimates the country lost roughly 30 billion Canadian dollars ($22.39 billion) worth of export capacity as a result of the financial crisis and the years leading up to it, and has lost up to C$60 billion in income from the more recent commodity-price swoon.
He said both monetary and fiscal policies in Canada are doing their part to help the economy recover from this hole. The Bank of Canada's main policy rate has stood at 0.5% for over a year, while the federal Liberal government has pledged tens of billions of dollars in infrastructure spending and tax relief. A weaker Canadian currency, relative to the U.S. dollar, is aiding with the adjustment.
Write to David George-Cosh at firstname.lastname@example.org and Paul Vieira at email@example.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
November 29, 2016 00:26 ET (05:26 GMT)
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