UPDATE 4-Bank of Canada pushes rate hikes off, cites weak Q3

Wed Oct 24, 2012 2:49pm EDT
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* Carney says new language means rate hike less imminent

* Third-quarter growth forecast cut to 1.0 percent from 2.0

* BoC sees more slack in economy than previously thought

* Data revisions imply household sector more vulnerable

By Louise Egan and Randall Palmer

OTTAWA, Oct 24 (Reuters) - Canadian interest rate hikes have become "less imminent" as the economy slows, Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney said on Wednesday in unusually explicit comments likely aimed at clearing up confusion over the central bank's recent statements.

The bank has been signaling since April that it will eventually raise its overnight rate from the current 1.0 percent, making it the only central bank among major industrialized economies to lean toward a rate hike.

But a speech by Carney last week, ironically about greater monetary policy transparency, was widely seen as less hawkish than before, and a majority of analysts in a Reuters poll had predicted the bank would soften its language on rates.

The bank did soften its tone on Tuesday, but not by as much as the market had expected, and some concluded that it was perhaps even more hawkish than before.   Continued...