Shortly after yesterday’s rate hike by the Bank of Canada, its first since 2010, we warned that as rates in Canada begin to rise, the local economy which has seen a striking decline in hourly earnings in the past year, which remains greatly reliant on a vibrant construction sector, and where households are the most levered on record, if there is anything that can burst the local housing bubble, it is tighter monetary conditions. And a bubble it is, as the chart below clearly demonstrates… one just waiting for the pin, which as we suggested yesterday in “”Canada Is In Serious Trouble” Again, And This Time It’s For Real“, may have finally been provided thanks to the Bank of Canada itself.
Now, one day after our warning, the IMF has doubled down and on Thursday issued its latest consultation report, in which it said that while Canada’s economy has regained some momentum, it warned that business investment remains weak, non-energy exports have underperformed, housing imbalances have increased and uncertainty surrounding trade negotiations with the United States could hurt the recovery.
The report – which concerningly was written even before the BOC hiked rates by 0.25% – also said the Bank of Canada’s current monetary policy stance is appropriate, and it cautioned against tightening.
“While the output gap has started to close, monetary policy should stay accommodative until signs of durable growth and higher inflation emerge,” the IMF said, adding that rate hikes should be “approached cautiously”.
Directors noted that Canada’s financial sector is well capitalized and has strong profitability, but that there are rising vulnerabilities in the housing sector… Directors agreed that monetary policy should stay accommodative and be gradually tightened as signs of durable growth and
inflation pressures emerge.
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