For those with a vested interest in mortgage rates—particularly variable-rate mortgage holders—tomorrow’s Bank of Canada rate decision has become one of the most-anticipated financial events of the quarter.
Expectations of a rate hike have seesawed from a near certainty to a coin toss and back to a sound bet. Markets are currently 92% priced in for a 0.25% increase to the Bank’s overnight target rate, which would bring it to 1.50%.
But there are arguments to be made both for and against a rate hike at this time. Here are two sides of the debate as featured in two recent articles:
The Case for a Rate Hike
A column in the Financial Post took the position that the Bank of Canada has a window of opportunity to move rates higher, which is in tune with Governor Stephen Poloz’s stated outlook for higher borrowing costs.
Despite employment plateauing and unemployment rising slightly to 6%, the author argues the economy is still stronger than it was in 2017 and unemployment is at a near 50-year low.
On the uncertainty thrown into the mix with escalating trade wars and difficult NAFTA renegotiations, the author wrote: “To be sure, Trump is less of a theoretical threat today than he was a year ago. But it’s also time to acknowledge that monetary policy can’t do everything…The central bank’s main job is to control inflation, which is currently on target. Its other main job is to oversee financial stability, which should be a worry after about a decade of ultra-low borrowing costs.”