March 6, 2019 / 3:05 PM / 3 months ago

Bank of Canada holds rates, says pace of hikes more uncertain

OTTAWA, March 6 - The Bank of Canada held interest rates steady as expected on Wednesday as the economy slows and said there was “increased uncertainty” around the timing of future rate increases.

The central bank said it now expected the economy would be weaker in the first half of 2019 than projected in January, and said it was closely watching developments in household spending, oil markets and global trade.

The Bank of Canada has raised its rates five times since July 2017, though it has held its overnight interest rate steady at 1.75 percent since October of last year.

It made clear on Wednesday that future hikes were still on the table, but not imminent.

“Governing Council judges that the outlook continues to warrant a policy interest rate that is below its neutral range,” it said in a statement, adding that there was “increased uncertainty about the timing of future rate increases.”

Reporting by Julie Gordon; Editing by David Ljunggren

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