In a totally unexpected move, the Bank of Canada cut the overnight interest rate by 25 basis points on Wednesday. This of course makes me wonder what the Bank of Canada knows that the rest of us don’t! I mean usually the Bank indicates a bias towards cutting interest rates, but this was just out of the blue. It signals that the oil shock on the economy is going to be a lot more significant than anyone expected.
The Canadian dollar dropped vs. the US dollar thanks to the surprise move. Gold and silver prices climbed on safe-haven demand. Canadian bond yields plunged. As per Bloomberg: “’It’s a big shock,’ David Doyle, a strategist at Macquarie Capital Markets, said by phone from Toronto. “They’re going to try to provide the necessary medicine here for the soft landing from slowing debt growth, from slowing investment in the oil sands, and I think they thought it needed some stimulus here.”
No one probably stands to hurt more from plunging oil prices than Alberta.
Energy companies have started cutting capital expenditure, and this means job losses, which means a slowing housing market. In fact, plunging oil prices have seen home sales in Calgary tumble 37% in the first half of January, compared to a year earlier. Prices dropped 1.5%. And active listings soared by nearly 65%.
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