17. April 2012 10:15
As expected the Bank of Canada is standing pat, holding its benchmark overnight rate at 1%. It has also fired renewed speculation about when that rate will start to climb. Along with today’s announcement the central bank also said “some modest withdrawal of the present considerable monetary policy stimulus may become appropriate, consistent with achieving the 2-per-cent inflation target over the medium term." The Bank appears to be looking forward to economic conditions during the first half of 2013. That has some analysts predicting the bank rate will start to creep up late this year.
Overshadowed by the Bank of Canada news are the Canadian Manufacturing Sales numbers which – as expected – slipped 0.3% for February. The auto-sector was the main drag but 11 of 21 industries showed declines. This follows a larger than expected 1.3% drop in January.
In the U.S. industrial production was flat for March but managed a 5.4% annual increase in Q1. Manufacturing output declined 0.2% while registering a broadly-based 10.4% increase for the quarter, led by very strong growth in the auto sector.
February housing starts in the U.S. dropped 1.1%, but building permits, for future construction, surged 5.1% indicating steady improvement in the housing market. Y/Y February housing starts were up 34.7%. Home builder sentiment is running at a 5-year high in the U.S.