The Bank of Canada building is shown in Ottawa on Wednesday, April 24, 2019. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick)

Bank of Canada cuts key rate to 1.25% amid coronavirus concerns

Rail line blockades, job action by Ontario teachers and harsh winter weather were also to blame

The Bank of Canada is cutting its key interest rate target by half a percentage point, dropping it to 1.25 per cent in response to the economic shock from the novel coronavirus outbreak.

The central bank said Wednesday that it cut its target for the overnight rate because COVID-19, as the virus is named, was “a material negative shock” to this country’s economic outlook.

In January, the central bank said the global economy was showing signs of stabilizing, but governor Stephen Poloz opened the door to a possible interest rate cut if weakness in the economy was more persistent than expected.

In a statement Wednesday, the Bank of Canada said it is becoming clear the Canadian economy won’t grow as much as previously forecasted for the first quarter of this year.

The central bank pointed to disrupted supply chains and rattled business and consumer confidence as well as rail line blockades, job action by Ontario teachers and harsh winter weather.

The statement also said the central bank may further adjust its key rate if the situation calls for it.

“In light of all these developments, the outlook is clearly weaker now than it was in January,” the statement said.

“As the situation evolves, governing council stands ready to adjust monetary policy further if required to support economic growth and keep inflation on target.”

The cut in the bank’s key rate is the first since the summer of 2015 and brings the rate to a level it hasn’t been at since early 2018.

Economists had widely forecasted the bank would cut its rate following an unexpected half point cut by the U.S. Federal Reserve on Tuesday to its rate as an emergency economic buttress against COVID-19 concerns.

That decision came after a call among central bankers and finance ministers from G7 countries, including Canada, about how to deal with the economic shocks the outbreak might have.

The Bank of Canada generally finalizes its decision on rates by late Tuesday, meaning the call for its decision came after the U.S. Federal Reserve made its move.

Financial markets had expected at least one rate cut this year, but forecasts have pegged the decision Wednesday as the first of what could be multiple reductions to the central bank’s key interest rate target.

READ MORE: B.C.’s three latest COVID-19 cases related to travel from Iran

READ MORE: Amid COVID-19 panic, B.C. psychologist urges shoppers to not clear out grocery stores

The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Private investigator joins hunt for missing Maple Ridge pharamacist

Family and friends of Port Coquitlam’s Atefeh Jadidian raise money to help in search

Maple Ridge author launches new fantasy series

Brooke Carter’s first book, The Stone of Sorrow, comes out April 7

Social media a blessing and a curse during time of crisis: B.C. communication expert

‘In moments of crisis, fear is very real and palpable,’ says SFU’s Peter Chow-White

Friends surpise recently married couple with COVID-19 friendly reception on Pitt Meadows street

Anastasija and Joshua Davis saw shattered plan turns into a reception many will never forget

Evening world update: U.S. restrictions extended 30 days; NY deaths near 1,000

Comprehensive world update, with the latest developments in the COVID-19 crisis

‘It’s up to us: Recently-returned B.C. couple urges Canadians to take COVID-19 seriously

Garrett Kucher and Tory Apostoliuk make it home after almost a week of lockdown in Spain

‘Nothing concrete’: Tenants, landlords lack details after B.C. unveils COVID-19 rental aid

Single mom in Golden says she’s already going to the food bank after being laid off

Canada will make sure masks sent by China meet quality standards: Trudeau

Chinese Embassy tweeted that China was sending 30,000 medical masks along with gowns, gloves and goggles

B.C. issues guidelines about distancing, reusable bags to grocery stores amid COVID-19

Hand sanitizer and markers to keep lines two metres are apart are needed, province says

No plans to call in military right now to enforce COVID-19 quarantine: Trudeau

Trudeau unveils $7.5M for Kids Help Phone, $9M for vulnerable seniors amid COVID-19

QUIZ: How much do you know about the Olympics?

Put your knowledge to the test with these 12 questions

B.C. announces $3M for food banks to increase capacity during COVID-19

It is not clear how much of the money will flow towards Greater Victoria food banks

Most Read