Canada hikes rates amid growing trade tensions

Published: July 12, 2018 13:11:12 | Updated: July 13, 2018 15:50:38


The Bank of Canada announced Wednesday it was raising the benchmark interest rate from l.25 per cent to 1.5 per cent, partly due to rising trade tensions with the United States.

The US has been pressuring Canada and Mexico for more favourable trade terms in the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Washington earlier this year slapped a 25 per cent tariff on steel imports and 10 per cent tariff on aluminum imports, with Canada among the major targets.

The US government also threatened to impose higher duties on the automotive sector, reports Xinhua.

The central bank acknowledged that the hit to the Canadian economy from the mounting trade turmoil is likely to be greater than it had anticipated in earlier forecasts.

"The possibility of more trade protectionism is the most important threat to global prospects," it said.

The lender expects the global economy to grow by about 3.75 per cent in 2018 and 3.5 per cent in 2019.

It said higher interest rates will be warranted to keep inflation near target and it will continue to take a gradual approach, guided by incoming data.

The rate increase was in line with market expectations, as a recent slate of numbers from Statistics Canada suggest the economy is expanding, the job market doing well, and inflation inching higher.

The Canadian central bank has raised the interest rate four times since summer.

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