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By Greg Quinn
OTTAWA (MNI) - Bank of Canada Senior Deputy Governor Carolyn
Wilkins said the threat of a prolonged global trade war is the ``wild
card'' to an economic recovery that still requires stimulative interest
Wilkins said future decisions on a policy rate, held at
1.75% on Wednesday, will focus on trade disputes, oil markets and
domestic household spending. Canadian business activity is being
held back by global trade fights and her own country's bilateral
disputes with the U.S. and China.
Most of Wilkins' remarks Thursday reiterated the outlook
expressed in Wednesday's interest-rate decision, including the key
phrases that stimulus ``remains appropriate'' and policy makers stay
``data dependent.'' Some investors are betting on a rate cut later this
year while most economists say the BOC is on hold in 2019.
The growing evidence that Canada's economic growth will accelerate
over the rest of this year must be weighed against the longer-term risk
of worsening trade conflicts such as between the U.S. and China, Wilkins
said. ``This remains a major preoccupation for us,'' she said about the
risk of protracted trade wars.
Business investment in Canada will expand gradually led by
non-energy companies focused on new technologies, while oil and gas
producers may cut investment by a further 20%, she said.
Here are some other highlights from her speech in Calgary:
- Business investment as a share of Canada GDP will remain flat
over the BOC's projection horizon.
- While job growth is supporting consumption, business inventories
have increased sharply and economic data may also be choppy because of
recent flooding and wildfires in parts of Canada.
- Policy makers discussed the flat or inverted yield curves in
some markets and whether it's a signal about economic prospects or
investor demand for long-term assets.
--MNI Ottawa Bureau; Greg Quinn, 613-314-9647; firstname.lastname@example.org