Some Pitfalls on the Path to a Neutral Interest Rate
16 Pages Posted: 19 Aug 2011
Date Written: July 28, 2011
The Bank of Canada currently expects the Canadian economy to return to full employment by the middle of next year, but is in no hurry to begin raising the overnight interest rate from its currently extremely low level towards the 3 percent plus range that normally has been associated with full employment. Some of the Bank’s critics have stressed that if inflation is to be kept stable after next year, then a “neutral” value for real – that is inflation-adjusted – market interest rates must be restored by then. The neutral interest rate’s value is hence extremely difficult to estimate, making other policy indicators highly relevant. Recent survey data on business intentions and expectations have shown more signs of expansion lately, but, along with still subdued rates of money growth, they do not as yet signal any imminent threat of an upsurge in long-term inflationary pressures in Canada, and these factors suggest that there might be something to be said for the Bank of Canada’s current caution towards raising interest rates.
Keywords: Monetary Policy, Bank of Canada, inflation, neutral interest rate, Canadian economy
JEL Classification: E5, E58
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation