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Core inflation still rising, as housing slumps

The Bank of Canada will have eyed this week’s data releases and market moves with some trepidation. The further acceleration in core CPI inflation in April means the Bank is all but guaranteed to push ahead with another 50bp interest rate hike at its upcoming policy meeting, particularly with gasoline prices spiking even higher this month. But the reported slump in home sales (and prices) and the sell-off in global equity markets, are warnings that overly aggressive monetary tightening by the Bank of Canada (and other central banks) could backfire, plunging the global economy into recession.
Paul Ashworth Chief North America Economist
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Canada Economics Weekly

Economy losing momentum

While the apparent contraction in GDP in May appears to have been partly due to temporary factors, it also reflects the impact of the surge in interest rates on housing. With the business surveys for June also showing a loss of broader momentum, the economy may be slowing even sooner than we anticipated.

We are sending the Weekly early this week as our Toronto office is closed for the Canada Day holiday on Friday. Happy Canada Day!

30 June 2022

Canada Data Response

GDP by Industry (Apr.)

The preliminary estimate suggests that the healthy 0.3% m/m rise in GDP in April was followed by a shock 0.2% contraction in May but, as this appears to have been partly due to temporary factors, it probably won’t stop the Bank of Canada from enacting a larger 75 bp interest rate hike next month.

30 June 2022

Canada Chart Book

Tight labour market pushing up wages

The tight labour market is putting upward pressure on wages, with the Labour Force Survey showing a strong 1.0% m/m rise in average hourly earnings in May. While the annual rate of wage growth, at 3.9% y/y, remained lower than before the pandemic, base effects mean it is likely to accelerate to closer to 6% over the second half of 2022. All this adds to the pressure for the Bank of Canada to rapidly tighten policy, particularly as the current weak rate of productivity growth suggests that there is minimal scope for businesses to absorb higher wage costs. We expect the Bank to raise its policy rate by 75 bp in July and follow that with a further 50 bp hike in September and a 25 bp hike in October, to take the policy rate to 3.0%. By then, we think the weakness in the housing market and a sharp slowdown in employment growth will be enough to cause the Bank to pause its tightening cycle, and ultimately remain on the side lines as GDP growth slows below its long-run potential in 2023.

29 June 2022

More from Paul Ashworth

US Economics Weekly

Spender of last resort

With China’s economy hampered by its zero-covid lockdowns, and Europe’s economy suffering because of the massive surge in imported energy prices caused by the war in Ukraine, the American consumer has once-again emerged as the world’s spender of last resort.

20 May 2022

US Chart Book

Economy powering ahead

The strength of the hard activity data for April refutes the recent message from financial markets that the economy is at risk of imminent recession. The solid gain in control group retail sales, together with upward revisions to past months leaves the underlying trend in consumer spending looking much stronger. Meanwhile the continued rebound in manufacturing output, in particular the recovery in vehicle output to the pre-pandemic level, illustrates how the gradual easing of supply shortages is supporting a rebound in production. With signs that core inflation is still running far too hot, the continued strength of economic activity supports the Fed’s decision to press ahead with 50bp rate hikes at the next couple of FOMC meetings. Nevertheless, we still expect a drop back in inflation later this year, alongside signs of a slowdown in economic activity will prompt the FOMC to shift back to 25bp hikes by the fall.

18 May 2022

Canada Data Response

Consumer Prices (Apr.)

CPI inflation edged up to a new cyclical high of 6.8% in April, from 6.7%, and, together with the more marked increases in core inflation, that almost guarantees the Bank of Canada will hike its policy rate by another 50bp next month.

18 May 2022
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