Roughly 50% of the prices in the CPI are growing more than 5%, which is still very concerning for the Bank of Canada. Market rates moved up meaningfully on the news. With the 5-year government bond yield well above 4%, fixed mortgage rates will increase this week. The odds of another 25 bps rate hike this fall have risen, but there is still another employment report and the September CPI release before the next announcement date on October 25th.
Gasoline prices in September thus far have already risen to 10% above year-ago levels, so September inflation is likely also high. The additional problem for the Bank of Canada is that core inflation measures have also risen and will likely remain sticky on the high side. This has increased the odds of another rate hike this year.
Mitigating the Bank’s inflation concerns is the slowdown in economic activity. Employment growth has slowed as the jobless rate rose to 5.5% and job vacancies fell. Excess demand has also fallen. Financial strains in the household, financial and business sectors are emerging as delinquency rates on non-mortgage debt have soared. A pause in BoC rate hikes is warranted, but if the economy starts to pick up again or core inflation continues to hold steady or rise, additional rate hikes cannot be ruled out.
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