Bank of Canada's rate hike conundrum
That’s the big question on everyone’s mind ahead of the Bank of Canada interest rate decision on Jan. 26. The latest firm to now call for a quarter-point rate hike next week is National Bank Financial, with its strategists saying hot inflation, labour market strength and the Bank of Canada’s recent Business Outlook Survey are giving the central bank a “free option” to raise rates this month. Meanwhile, Scotiabank predicts the Bank of Canada will return its policy rate to two per cent by the end of this year.
Speaking of that hot inflation data…
Statistics Canada reported consumer prices surged 4.8 per cent on an annualized basis in December – the highest rate since 1991. The data reinforced expectations that the Bank of Canada could start its rate hike campaign as early as next week.
Will higher rates help improve housing affordability? Probably not
Any homeowners hoping for improved housing affordability amid higher borrowing rates will likely be left disappointed, according to TD Securities’ Andrew Kelvin. He said higher rates will only impact the psychology around the real estate sector “on the margin,” since monetary policy would still be in a “broadly accommodative situation.”
Bank investors could be in for more upside: Analyst
Investors who hold stakes in big Canadian banks have already seen their holdings grow, partly in anticipation of higher interest rates. Now, a veteran bank analyst said there could be even more money to be made. Barclays Capital’s John Aiken raised his price targets on the Big Five by an average of 10 per cent. He argues the banks are in for some “palpable” relief on net interest margins, despite any negative impact on the domestic operations from tighter COVID restrictions.
Where does Shopify, and the broader tech sector, go from here?
While banks get a boost, the once high-flying tech sector is taking a hit, including former tech darling Shopify. The stock has plunged roughly 40 per cent since its mid-November peak, and many analysts attribute the drop to risks stemming from higher interest rates. Only time will tell whether there’s more room for Shopify's stock to fall or if the drop presents a good buying opportunity for investors.
- The number of times the Bank of Canada is expected to hike its benchmark rate this year, according to Bloomberg data as of Friday.